Imaging of the porta hepatis: Spectrum of disease

Sree Harsha Tirumani, Alampady Krishna Prasad Shanbhogue, Raghunandan Vikram, Srinivasa R. Prasad, Christine O. Menias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


A wide array of pathologic conditions can arise within the porta hepatis, which encompasses the portal triad (the main portal vein, common hepatic artery, and common bile ducts), lymphatics, nerves, and connective tissue. Major vascular diseases of the portal triad include thrombosis, stenosis, and aneurysm. Portal vein thrombosis can complicate liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma and has important therapeutic implications. Hepatic artery thrombosis and stenosis require immediate attention to reduce graft loss in liver transplant recipients. Congenital (eg, choledochal cyst) and acquired (benign and malignant) diseases of the biliary system can manifest as mass lesions in the porta hepatis. Lymphadenopathy can arise from neoplastic and nonneoplastic entities. Uncommon causes of mass lesions arise from nerves (eg, neurofibroma, neurofibrosarcoma) and connective tissue (sarcomas) and are rare. The hepatoduodenal ligament is a peritoneal reflection at the porta hepatis and is an important route for the spread of pancreatic and gastrointestinal cancers. Imaging plays a major role in diagnosis and enables appropriate management. Ultrasonography accurately demonstrates anatomic variations and pathologic conditions and is the initial modality of choice for detection of vascular and biliary lesions. Multidetector computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging allow characterization and differentiation of various masses in the porta hepatis. Imaging-guided interventions, including embolization and stent placement, also play a key role in disease management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-92
Number of pages20
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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