The liver is the second largest (after skin) single organ in the body, weighing 2 kg in the average adult.
As adult humans can be of different size, so can the liver.
It is approximately 21-22.5 cm
across its widest point, 15-17.5 cm
at its greatest vertical height, and 10-12.5 cm
from front to back.
The liver is composed of soft, red-brown tissue divided into lobes and enclosed by a tough fibrous capsule, and it lies in the upper abdomen on the right side, beneath and loosely attached to the diaphragm.
Its primary secretion, the bile, is poured into gallbladder and then into the duodenum (the first part of the small intestine) through the common bile duct.
In addition, it has important functions as a "ductless" gland in connection with the metabolism of carbohydrates and nitrogenous waste products.
The liver has an intricate and complex system of blood vessels. It receives its arterial supply from the hepatic artery - 25% of the blood supply. There is a much larger supply of blood vessels from the portal vein (75%), which conveys blood from the stomach, intestines, pancreas and spleen to the liver. The hepatic veins, by which the blood of the liver passes into the inferior vena cava, usually pass from the liver through two large and several small openings on the back surface of the organ.
The liver receives blood, via the portal vein, that has come from the intestines; this blood contains the final products of digestion as well as decomposition products.
Liver is the main organ inside human body who's function is to process substances that are 'foreign' to our body and to make them "friendly".
The circulatory system of the liver is unlike that seen in any other organ. Of great importance is the fact that a majority of the liver's blood supply is venous blood! The pattern of blood flow in the liver can be summarized as follows:
Roughly 75% of the blood entering the liver is venous blood from the portal vein.
Importantly, all of the venous blood returning from the small intestine, stomach, pancreas and spleen converges into the portal vein.
One consequence of this is that the liver gets "first pickings" of everything absorbed in the small intestine, which, as we will see, is where virtually all nutrients are absorbed. So, it is liver's job to process all the foods that your intestines have been absorbing.
The remaining 25% of the blood supply to the liver is arterial blood from the hepatic artery.
If you've developed allergies, you most likely have liver and gall bladder malfunction due to numerous intrahepatic stones and/or gallstones.
From venous blood, the liver removes glucose, which it turns into glycogen and then stores. When the body needs energy, the liver converts the glycogen back into glucose, which then travels through the bloodstream to the cells where it is needed.
The liver incorporates amino acids into proteins; it probably makes such proteins as albumin, prothrombin components, fibrinogen, transferrin, and glycoprotein.
The liver is important in the transformation (sometimes called detoxification) of such substances as indole and skatole, which may be absorbed into the blood from the intestine. It is also instrumental in the clearing out of harmful drugs and other chemicals from the body.
The liver excretes the bile pigments -bilirubin and biliverdin - formed in the cells of the reticulo-endothelial system from hemoglobin.