Surgical anatomy of retrohepatic inferior vena cava and hepatic veins: a quantitative assessment

Indian J Gastroenterol. 2001 Jul-Aug;20(4):136-9.


Background: Accurate knowledge of the surgical anatomy of the retrohepatic inferior vena cava (IVC) and hepatic veins is necessary for hepatic surgery.

Methods: Lengths of different segments of retrohepatic IVC and their diameters, and prevalence of various types of ramification and lengths of different hepatic veins, were noted in 100 disease-free human livers during autopsy.

Results: The mean lengths of the IVC from entry into atrium to diaphragmatic hiatus, from the hiatus to the upper margin of right hepatic vein, between the upper margins of the right hepatic vein and the right suprarenal vein, from right suprarenal vein to the lowermost dorsal hepatic vein, and from the lower-most dorsal hepatic vein to the right renal vein were 29.1 mm, 8.6 mm, 40.6 mm, 28.6 mm and 33.7 mm, respectively. The mean diameter of IVC at the diaphragmatic level was 30.1 mm. The commonest ramification pattern of the hepatic veins was type I (82%) for the right hepatic vein, type II (63%) for the middle and left hepatic veins, and type II (55%) for the caudate veins. In 96% of cases the middle and left hepatic veins formed a common trunk. In a majority of cases, the diameters of the right and left hepatic veins were between 7 mm and 12 mm. No gender differences were found.

Conclusion: This study provides an anatomical perspective for various hepatic surgical techniques.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Female
  • Hepatectomy / methods
  • Hepatic Veins / anatomy & histology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Vena Cava, Inferior / anatomy & histology*
  • Vena Cava, Inferior / surgery*