Right inferior phrenic vein indicating the right hepatic vein confluence into the inferior vena cava

Guido Torzilli, Marco Montorsi, Angela Palmisano, Daniele Del Fabbro, Andrea Gambetti, Matteo Donadon, Natale Olivari, Masatoshi Makuuchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Limiting backflow bleeding from the hepatic veins is a priority when performing hepatectomy. However, hepatic vein encirclement is difficult, especially in re-resection. We verified the presence and trajectory of the right inferior phrenic vein (RIPV), which could be a useful anatomic landmark to guide surgeons in targeting the extrahepatic right hepatic vein (RHV) before dissection. Methods: Between May 2001 and January 2005, 100 consecutive patients with liver tumors were enrolled and underwent hepatectomy: 77 patients underwent surgery for tumors located in the right hemiliver. Results: RIPV was detected in all but 1 patient (99%), and its trajectory was always guided toward the extrahepatic RHV. The only patient in whom RIPV was not detected had undergone prior liver resection and interstitial therapies for colorectal cancer liver metastases. Conclusions: Apart from exceptional conditions, detection of the RIPV is always feasible and allows safe surgical dissection while approaching the extrahepatic RHV before hepatic resection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)690-694
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgery
Issue number5 SPEC. ISS.
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2006


  • Hepatic vein
  • Inferior vena cava
  • Liver anatomy
  • Liver neoplasms
  • Liver surgery
  • Phrenic vein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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