Porta hepatis

Last revised by Raymond Chieng on 11 Jan 2023

The porta hepatis, also known as the transverse hepatic fissure, is a deep fissure in the inferior surface of the liver through which all the neurovascular structures (except hepatic veins) and also hepatic ducts enter or leave the liver 1. It runs in the hepatoduodenal ligament and contains:

It also transmits the hepatic plexus of autonomic nerves:

The arrangement of structures around the porta hepatis can be described by the letter "H". The left limb of the "H" is formed by ligamentum venosum superiorly and ligamentum teres inferiorly. Meanwhile, the right limb is formed by the inferior vena cava (IVC) superiorly and the gall bladder inferiorly. The crossbar of the letter "H" is the porta hepatis where the bile ducts, hepatic arteries, and portal vein enters and exits the region. There are also some nerves and lymphatics in the porta hepatis 5. The area bounded between the gall bladder and ligamentum teres is the quadrate lobe of the liver while the area bound between ligamentum venosum and IVC is the caudate lobe of the liver 5.

From anterior to posterior, these porta hepatis structures lie in the order of duct-artery-vein thus the hepatic ducts are more accessible in surgery. The porta hepatis provides attachment for the lesser omentum. It lies between caudate lobe posteriorly and quadrate lobe anteriorly.

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: porta hepatitis with choledocholithiasis
    Drag here to reorder.