Liver facts

  • The liver is the largest solid internal and most metabolically complex organ in humans. It is second only to the skin as the overall largest organ in the human body.
  • It’s about 8 inches (20 cm) wide, 6.5 inches (17 cm) long and 4.5 inches (12 cm) thick and weighs approximately 1.6 kilograms.The liver has two large lobes; a large right lobe and a smaller left lobe.
  • The liver performs over 500 different functions including fighting off infection, neutralizing toxins, manufacturing proteins and hormones, controlling blood sugar and helping to clot the blood.
  • It's your body's "protector," and damage to it can result in serious, potentially life-threatening consequences.
  • The liver is the only organ that can regenerate itself thus making it possible for one person to donate part of their liver to another person. When a portion of the liver is transplanted, the donor's liver will regenerate back to its original size while the transplanted portion will grow to the appropriate size for the recipient. 
  • The Greek word for liver is 'hepar' -¬ that's why medical terms related to the liver often start in 'hepato'- or 'hepatic'.
  • At any one time, the liver contains about 10% of the blood in your body and it pumps about 1.4 litres through per minute. 
  • Dr. Thomas E. Starzl performed the first human liver transplant in 1963 at the University of Colorado Medical School; however, lack of effective immunosuppressive drugs limited the success. Four years later, the availability of more effective immunosuppressives enabled Dr. Starzl to perform the first successful liver transplant.