The Liver is an organ of a glandular nature, and, like all the glands, is designed to secrete a peculiar fluid. It separates from the blood the elements which constitute bile. Situated in the right hypochonder, it enters the arch of the diaphragm; and it occupies also a portion of the epigastrium, and then comes in contact with the stomach, the arch of the colon, &c; behind, it corresponds to the vertebral column, the aorta, and the descending vena cava; in front to the base of the chest It is held in its place by ligamentous folds of the peritoneum; the most important of these is the suspensory ligament The form of the liver is difficult to describe: its upper surface is convex, its lower slightly concave. It is divided into the right and left lobes; to the latter is attached an appendage named lobus Spigelii or Spigel's lobe. The under surface of the liver is marked by the longitudinal and transverse fissures. Through this last the portal vein enters. Examined en masse, the liver is of a reddish-brown colour. Its substance is yellowish, granular, and contained in an envelope of cellular tissue called Glisson's capsule. Several kinds of vessels are found in it: the hepatic artery, which carries the blood which nourishes the organ; the portal vein, which carries the blood to the liver which is to be purified; the hepatic vein, which transmits to the descending vena cava the blood elaborated by the gland; and lastly, the bile-ducts, which secrete or transport the fluids extracted from the blood by the liver to the gall-bladder, situated under the right lobe.
The Tissue Proper Of The Liver is essentially constituted by the secretory canals of the bile, each one of which terminates in an acinus or lobule; a net-work of capillaries of the portal vein surrounds these lobules, which by their union in clusters form the liver, and which are so many diminutives of that gland. The secretory ducts are continuous with the hepatic ducts, and the capillaries of the portal vein with those of the hepatic veins, which transmit to the inferior vena cava the blood from which the bile has been separated The liver secretes sugar also, which, formed in this gland at the expense of the blood from the portal vein, is immediately decomposed, and in health disappears in the process of nutrition.
This is an elongated gland situated behind the stomach: it secretes the pancreatic juice—a fluid analogous to the saliva, and which the pancreatic canal pours into the ductus choledochus, near its orifice in the duodenum.
This is a spongy vascular body situated in the left hypochonder, between the stomach and the false ribs: it serves as a reservoir in over-fulness of the portal vein, Its special use and purpose are unknown.