The common hepatic artery is a branch of the aorta off the celiac stem of the abdomen. There are five branches of the hepatic artery: the right gastric, left gastric, gastroduodenal, left hepatic, middle hepatic, and the right hepatic. This group of arteries supplies blood to the pancreas, liver, gallbladder, stomach, and duodenal section within the small intestine.
The right hepatic artery has a forked shape and supplies blood to the right region of the liver. Typically, the left and right hepatic arteries originate in a fork off the common hepatic artery and are positioned parallel to the portal vein and bile duct.
The right hepatic artery occasionally stems from the superior mesenteric artery. If this occurs, it is referred to as a replaced right hepatic artery. The replaced artery is travels through or behind the pancreatic head, near the main portal vein. In rare cases, it originates from the gastroduodenal artery.
Determining the position of the right hepatic artery is crucial for laparoscopic cholecystectomy, a type of surgery that uses very small incisions, a small camera, and special surgical tools to remove a person’s gallbladder.