What is liver disease? What is pancreatic cancer? What are liver tumors

How do I get treatment?

For further information and appointments please see the below contact numbers:

For Mr Rob Hutchins:

020 7234 2940

For the following Consultants:

020 7234 2730

Professor Nigel Heaton
Mr Parthi Srinivasan
Mr Andreas A. Prachalias
Dr Phil M. Harrison
Dr Michael Heneghan

London Liver Treatment Centre

About the Liver

The liver is the largest organ in the body and is located in the upper right-hand portion of the abdomen protected by the ribs. It lies beneath the diaphragm and on top of the stomach, right kidney and intestines. The liver is dark, reddish-brown in colour and weighs approximately 1 and a half kilograms (3 lbs).

It is divided naturally into two parts – the right and left lobes and it is held in position by its connections to major blood vessels and other organs which lie close by. The blood vessels include the inferior vena cava, a large vein which takes blood from the lower part of the body, it runs behind the liver and up through the diaphragm into the heart. Other blood vessels include the hepatic artery and portal vein. The liver is attached to the diaphragm and other organs by banks of tissue (ligaments).

The liver is the only organ in the body to have a double blood supply. Oxygenated blood flows in from the hepatic artery and a nutrient-rich blood flows through the portal vein from the gut. The blood drains from the liver through three hepatic veins (right, middle and left) directly into the inferior vena cava. At any given moment, the liver holds about 23% of the body’s blood supply.

The hepatic artery and portal vein divide inside the liver into eight parts of the liver (known as segments) which are numbered from one to eight. Segment one is known as the caudate lobe, Segments two and three are left lateral segments, segments one to four are the left lobe and segments five to eight are the right lobe.

The liver tissue is made up of billions of liver cells (hepatocytes) arranged in groups called lobules which connect to small tubes (ducts) which drain fluid (bile) produced by the liver cells. These small ducts connect with larger ducts which then come together to form the common bile duct which then drains into the gallbladder. The gallbladder stores bile and sends it into the bowel (duodenum) during meals.

The liver is the only organ in the body that can regrow (regeneration) after injury and is able to double its size in six to eight weeks after major liver surgery.

The liver is one of the toughest organs in the body and continues to function even when damaged. At the very heart of your body, it carries out many complex functions – some of which are:

  • Controlling the amount of cholesterol

  • Filtering and cleaning your blood

  • Fighting infection and disease
  • Processing food once digested, it then produces bile which helps break down food in the gut

  • Repairs damage and renews itself