Intrahepatic vascular anatomy in rats and mice - Variations and surgical implications

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© 2015 Sänger et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Introduction: The intra-hepatic vascular anatomy in rodents, its variations and corresponding supplying and draining territories in respect to the lobar structure of the liver have not been described. We performed a detailed anatomical imaging study in rats and mice to allow for further refinement of experimental surgical approaches. Methods: LEWIS-Rats and C57Bl/6N-Mice were subjected to ex-vivo imaging using μCT. The image data were used for semi-automated segmentation to extract the hepatic vascular tree as prerequisite for 3D visualization. The underlying vascular anatomy was reconstructed, analysed and used for determining hepatic vascular territories. Results: The four major liver lobes have their own lobar portal supply and hepatic drainage territories. In contrast, the paracaval liver is supplied by various small branches from right and caudate portal veins and drains directly into the vena cava. Variations in hepatic vascular anatomy were observed in terms of branching pattern and distance of branches to each other. The portal vein anatomy is more variable than the hepatic vein anatomy. Surgically relevant variations were primarily observed in portal venous supply. Conclusions: For the first time the key variations of intrahepatic vascular anatomy in mice and rats and their surgical implications were described. We showed that lobar borders of the liver do not always match vascular territorial borders. These findings are of importance for the design of new surgical procedures and for understanding eventual complications following hepatic surgery.




Sänger, C., Schenk, A., Ole Schwen, L., Wang, L., Gremse, F., Zafarnia, S., … Dahmen, U. (2015). Intrahepatic vascular anatomy in rats and mice - Variations and surgical implications. PLoS ONE, 10(11).

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