Limitations and pitfalls of Couinaud's segmentation of the liver in transaxial Imaging

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The segmental anatomy of the human liver has become a matter of increasing interest to the radiologist, especially in view of the need for an accurate preoperative localization of focal hepatic lesions. In this review article first an overview of the different classical concepts for delineating segmental and subsegmental anatomy on US, transaxial CT, and MR images is given. Essentially, these procedures are based on Couinaud's concept of three vertical planes that divide the liver into four segments and of a transverse scissura that further subdivides the segments into two subsegments each. In a second part, the limitations of these methods are delineated and discussed with the conclusion that if exact preoperative localization of hepatic lesions is needed, tumor must be located relative to the avascular planes between the different portal territories.

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