Hepatocystic triangle

Last revised by Calum Worsley on 20 Feb 2024

The hepatocystic triangle (or Calot triangle) is a small triangular space at the porta hepatis of surgical importance as it is dissected during cholecystectomy. Its contents, the cystic artery and cystic duct, must be identified before ligation and division to avoid intraoperative injury.

Gross anatomy


In the generally accepted definition, the triangle has the following boundaries:

  • inferior: the cystic duct, which is often tortuous and has a beaded appearance, passes downward and to the left from the neck of the gallbladder to join the common duct

  • leftcommon hepatic duct

  • superior: the inferior surface of the liver


History and etymology

This space was first described by the French surgeon, Jean-François Calot (1861–1944) 2 in 1891, as part of his PhD thesis. The triangle as described by Calot differs slightly from the modern description in that he described the superior border as the cystic artery rather than the surface of the liver 3

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: accepted definition
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  • Figure 2: original definition
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