Enlarged liver (Riedel lobe)

Case contributed by Dr Simon Vanden Berghe


Nonspecific pain in the right hypochondrium for the past 3 months.

Patient Data

Age: 55 years
Gender: Female

Plain X-Ray abdomen (standing)


There is an obvious enlargment of the liver. The contour of the liver is clearly visible due to a layer of fat between the abdominal wall and the liver. 

Note the prominent shadow of the right kidney. The kidney is in its normal position in the retroperitoneum and is not displaced downward. This suggests that the liver enlargement is from a Riedel lobe, a normal variant of the liver with a large right hepatic lobe. With hepatomegaly, the entire liver would be enlarged and displace intra-abdominal organs.

Case Discussion

The cause of hepatomegaly has a vast range of etiology. Often, the assessment of the liver is made on ultrasound or CT however, in extreme cases such as this, an enlarged liver may be obvious on plain imaging.

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