Ultrasound examination of the liver: Variations in the vascular anatomy

S. Battaglia, C. Fachinetti, F. Draghi, G. L. Rapaccini, N. de Matthaeis, T. Abbattista, P. Busilacchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The hepatic vasculature is highly complex. The hepatic artery (a branch of the celiac tripod) and the portal vein (formed by the confluence of the splenic and superior mesenteric veins) provide a dual blood supply while venous drainage is guaranteed by the hepatic veins. There are also numerous anatomic variants that can involve one or more of the system's three components.Hepatic artery variants are the least common. Ten types have been identified, including several that are fairly frequent and others that are quite rare, and the variation generally involves the extrahepatic portion of the vessel. Portal vein variants are found in around 20% of the population. They can involve the main portal trunk or segmental branches. Variants of the hepatic veins are the most common. They involve the number and course (supernumerary veins) or the number, course, and openings (accessory veins).Knowledge of portal vein and hepatic vein variants, which are extremely common, is of prime importance for precise localization of lesions. Hepatic artery variants are equally important for surgical treatment of hepatic disease, especially liver transplantation, where it is essential for preoperative workup and postoperative follow-up of the recipient as well as for assessment of potential donors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-56
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Ultrasound
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010


  • Hepatic artery
  • Hepatic veins
  • Liver
  • Portal vein
  • Sonography
  • Sonography - liver

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Internal Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Ultrasound examination of the liver: Variations in the vascular anatomy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this