Arterial supply and biliary drainage of the dorsal liver: A dissection study using controlled specimens

U. Y. Lee, Gen Murakami, S. H. Han

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Liver surgeons favor using the entity called the 'dorsal liver' (i.e. the caudate lobe and other paracavally located liver parenchyme of segments 7 and 8). According to minute dissection of 48 livers, we describe the territories of the left/right portal veins, hepatic ducts and hepatic arteries in the dorsal liver. In the caudate lobe, the right hepatic artery, rather than the left hepatic artery (23/48 vs 19/48 for right vs left, respectively), tended to supply the 'left' portal vein territory. Similarly, paradoxical drainage patterns, such as the right hepatic duct draining the left portal vein territory, were found in seven of 48 livers. In the territory of the hilar bifurcation, right hepatic artery dominance was also evident and various bile drainage patterns were found. These included double drainage by the bilateral hepatic ducts (3/48) and drainage into the confluence of bilateral ducts (6/48). In contrast, the arterial supply and biliary drainage of the paracavally located parenchyme of segments 7 and 8 usually depended on the proper segmental arteries and ducts and their variations were within the range of those found in other parts of the right lobe. Therefore, the dorsal liver concept may not be anatomical but, rather, simply aimed at usefulness in surgery. Nevertheless, clear subdivision of the caudate lobe according to biliary drainage and/or arterial supply seemed difficult because of the paradoxical relatioships among the portal vein, hepatic artery and bile duct. Consequently, the present results support extended surgery based on the dorsal liver concept for carcinomas involving the caudate lobe.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)158-166
Number of pages9
JournalAnatomical Science International
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2004


  • Bile duct
  • Caudate lobe
  • Dorsal liver
  • Hepatic artery
  • Human


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