SIU School of Medicine

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Division of Gastroenterology & Hepatology

Liver Disease

The liver is a wedge-shaped organ located underneath the rib cage. It weighs about 3 pounds and performs a variety of functions for your body. It cleans and purifies the blood supply, breaks down certain chemical substances in the blood, and manufactures others. The liver also stores sugars, fats and vitamins until they are needed by the body.

The liver can be affected by liver viruses (such as hepatitis A B and C), chemicals (such as alcohol and some prescription drugs), as well as a variety of other factors. Your physician can perform laboratory tests and order radiology tests to evaluate your liver as well as take a small sample of the liver to evaluate under the microscope.