The liver is a wedge-shaped (or prism-shaped) accessory organ of the gastrointestinal tract, with its base directed to the right side and its apex facing the left side. The liver appears pinkish brown and is a highly vascular organ. It has a soft and friable consistency.

The liver is positioned immediately below the right hemidiaphragm, occupying most of the right upper quadrant of the abdomen. A small part of it also extends into the left upper quadrant. 

The liver is a multifunctional organ and performs such functions as blood detoxification, protein synthesis, vitamin storage, and regulation of coagulation, to name a few.

It is the most prominent gland and serves as both an exocrine and endocrine organ. The liver weighs approximately 53 oz (1.5 kg). Overall, the liver is a multifunctional and important metabolic organ providing functions that are vital for the entire body. It works synchronously with many other organs.

The liver is an intraperitoneal organ, and almost all of it is encapsulated within the visceral peritoneum, except for the porta hepatis, the bare area (a relatively small triangular-shaped region that is not covered by the peritoneum) and the gallbladder fossa that houses the gallbladder

The liver has two major surfaces - diaphragmatic and visceral. As the names suggest, the diaphragmatic surface of the liver faces the diaphragm, while the visceral surface connects with adjacent organs and anatomical structures. Both surfaces are separated by a sharp margin called the inferior border. Similar to the diaphragmatic surface, the visceral surface is also covered by the visceral peritoneum, except at the porta hepatis and gallbladder fossa. 

The visceral surface of the liver is directly related to several anatomical structures, such as the:


Note: To read more about the liver, please visit our 3D Liver article!