What is the liver

The liver is a large organ found at the top of the abdomen (tummy area) on the right side. It is made up of cells; blood vessels and bile ducts. The main cells in the liver are known as hepatocytes.

The liver is made up two main parts: the right lobe and the left lobe. The right lobe is large, whilst the left lobe is smaller.


What problems can affect the liver?

The liver is a complex organ with a lot of different functions. Problems which can affect the liver include:

  • The bile flow out of the liver may be blocked
  • An infection/virus – this can cause inflammation or swelling
  • Metabolic diseases – problems with the way the cells make energy
  • Drugs and poisons
  • Poor blood supply
  • Sometimes the cause is unknown – these are known as idiopathic or cryptogenic