As part of the lymphatic system, the spleen serves multiple major and inter-related functions involving the body’s blood supply; however, despite the significance of what it does, the body can survive without it.2 If removed or damaged, the liver, bone marrow, lymph nodes, and other surrounding organs can take up some of what it does. Your spleen is an organ located just below your left rib cage. Our website services, content, and products are for informational purposes only. . The spleen plays multiple supporting roles in the body. Many different conditions can cause the spleen to enlarge, especially diseases that cause blood cells to break down too quickly. The spleen also stores red blood cells, platelets, and infection-fighting white blood cells. The lymphatic system helps remove cellular waste, maintain fluid balance, and make and activate infection-fighting white blood cells for … However, medical supplementation is often needed in such cases. It’s located behind your ribs, under your diaphragm, and above and behind to your stomach. If the damage is extensive, you might need surgery to remove your spleen. These veins are tributaries of the inferior mesenteric vein…, The small intestine is made up of the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum. National Institutes of Health web site: “Spleen Diseases.”. Accessory spleen: About 10% of people have a small extra spleen. And if you do get sick, it can take longer than usual for you to recover. Get the statistics on survival rates, find out the most common symptoms, diagnostic options, and treatments. You can live a normal, healthy life without a spleen. Steps to Take, The Spleen (Human Anatomy): Picture, Definition, Function, and Related Conditions, Blood Disorder Types, Symptoms, and Treatments. Gayer, G. British Journal of Radiology, 2001; vol 74: pp 764-772. It plays an important role- in the body’s defense against infection. One major function is that this organ filters blood, removing foreign bodies, microbes, and faulty red blood cells (R… WebMD does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Depending on your age and overall health, your doctor will likely recommend that you get vaccinated against infections like these: Though your spleen isn’t a large organ, it plays many important roles in your body. In some people, it originates from the left or right hepatic…, The ascending colon (or right colon) is the beginning part of the colon. It controls the level of blood cells. One of the spleen’s main jobs is to filter your blood. Healthline Media does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The spleen is the largest secondary lymphoid organ in the body and, as such, hosts a wide range of immunologic functions alongside its roles in hematopoiesis and red blood cell clearance. The function of spleen is to make new red blood cells and destroy old cells. The spleen can be defined as the largest gland of the lymphatic system, located to the left of the stomach, which helps your body combat diseases and get rid of debris. It’s also responsible for making substances that play an important role in inflammation and healing. Here are a few tips: If you do develop an enlarged spleen, follow the treatment plan your doctor recommends. © 2005 - 2020 WebMD LLC. An enlargement of the spleen that leads to the destruction of too many blood cells is a condition called hypersplenism. Eventually, it can become painful. This fist-shaped, oblong organ is purple, and it weighs about 6 ounces in healthy individuals. When it detects bacteria, viruses, or other germs in your blood, it produces white blood cells, called lymphocytes, to fight off these infections. All rights reserved. acts as a blood filter; it controls the amount of red blood cells and blood storage in the body, and helps to fight infection,\" said Jordan Knowlton, an advanced registered nurse practitioner at the University of Florida Health Shands Hospital. It acts as a filter for blood as part of the immune system. (Moderate drinking means no more than one drink a day for women, and two for men.). It contains white blood cells that fight germs. The spleen is part of your lymphatic system, which fights infection and keeps your body fluids in balance. As the lymph nodes are filters for the lymphatic circulation, the spleen is the primary filtering element for the blood. The spleen also acts as the primar… Individuals without a spleen may be mor… The spleen works with other organs in the body to complete the tasks of blood storage, fighting infection and filtering the blood. All rights reserved. Your doctor generally can't feel a normal-sized spleen in adults but can feel an enlarged spleen. Old red blood cells are recycled in the spleen, and platelets and white blood cells are stored there. However, there are a few preventable causes of an enlarged spleen, such as avoiding infections or injuries that could damage it. It acts as a filter for blood as part of the immune system. Spleen performs the following functions in your body: Spleen helps in filtering and purifying blood. However, in some people — especially those who are slender — a healthy, normal-sized spleen can sometimes be felt during an exam.Your doctor may confirm the diagnosis of an enlarged spleen with one or more of these tests: 1. Together with the esophagus, large intestine, and the stomach, it forms the…, The masseter muscle is a facial muscle that plays a major role in the chewing of solid foods. The spleen is part of your body’s lymphatic system. The difference between healthy and unhealthy blood cells is measured in microns, which means any change in the shape of your blood cells can affect the ability of your spleen to function. It serves important immune functions. Usually, treatments for spleen conditions focus not on the spleen, but on treating the underlying condition. Although the spleen is an important organ, it is not vital for human survival. The spleen has a few important functions: It fights any invading germs in the blood (the spleen contains infection-fighting white blood cells). Without the spleen, other organs in the body (particularly the liver) adapt and increase their ability to fight infection and remove redundant red blood cells. If it’s damaged by disease or injury, it can be removed without threatening your life. While the spleen is useful and does perform vital tasks, other organs in the body also work to filter the blood and fight infection, and blood cells are mainly produced in the bones. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation to protect your liver and avoid cirrhosis. It usually cannot be felt as most of it is shielded by the ribs. Infections and injuries can damage your spleen and cause it to enlarge or even rupture. Mayo Clinic: "Enlarged spleen (splenomegaly).". Your doctor can often feel it by gently examining your left upper abdomen. The spleen serves a critical role in immune function because it purifies the blood and helps the immune system to recognize and attack foreign pathogens and allergens. Use a condom every time you have sex with a new, untested partner to protect you from sexually transmitted infections. It is the size of a human fist. The spleen sits under your rib cage in the upper left part of your abdomen toward your back. The spleen is responsible for the production and maturation of IgM, B lymphocytes, and opsonins 1). As far as position of spleen in human body is concerned, it is located in the upper left part of our … It affects the number of red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout your body, and the number of platelets, which are cells that help your blood to clot. Anatomy and function of the spleen. The spleen functions as part of the immune system and contributes to the production and storage of blood cells as part of the circulatory system. Yes, you can live without your spleen. . This is possible because other organs, such as the liver and bone marrow , can perform filtration functions in the body. The spleen can also become injured or rupture immediately after a hard hit to the abdomen, a rib fracture, or other accident. With the central role the spleen plays in cleaning and managing the health of your blood, the spleen can be affected by diseases of other organs. Avoid contact sports and other high-impact activities until cleared by your doctor. Other conditions that cause an enlarged spleen include: When your spleen enlarges, it can’t filter your blood as efficiently as it once did. Here's what you need to know about spleen cancer, including causes, symptoms, treatment options, and more. What Are Chronic Myeloproliferative Disorders? The spleen is composed of two types of tissues: the red pulp, which filters the blood, and the white pulp, which contains white blood cells that regulate inflammation and the body’s response to infection. The lymphatic system helps remove cellular waste, maintain fluid balance, and make and activate infection-fighting white blood cells for the immune system. . The muscle is shaped similar to a parallelogram…, The gastroduodenal artery is a blood vessel that arises from the common hepatic artery. Instead, the spleen is connected to your blood vessels, with an artery that brings blood to it and a vein which takes the blood away. The appendicular vein removes oxygen-depleted blood from the appendix, which is located at the bottom of the ascending colon. An enlarged spleen may not cause symptoms at first. It may accidentally filter out normal red blood cells and platelets, leaving fewer healthy blood cells in your body. Leukemia is a cancer of the blood cells. This can lead to removal of the spleen. If your spleen enlarges too much, it can rupture. The surgery to remove your spleen is called a splenectomy. The spleen is an organ containing blood vessels and lymph nodes. This organ is part of your immune system. An enlarged spleen is usually detected during a physical exam. As you've seen, your spleen is often on the "front lines" of your body; in fact, your spleen is a busy organ – especially considering its small size. Many conditions — including infections, liver disease and some cancers — can cause an enlarged spleen, also known as splenomegaly (spleh-no-MEG-uh-lee).An enlarged spleen usually doesn't cause symptoms. It can become significantly larger when a person is sick or injured. This causes no problems and is considered normal. The OALD dictionary defines the organ as: It recognizes and removes old, malformed, or damaged red blood cells. © 2005-2020 Healthline Media a Red Ventures Company. It is possible to have the spleen removed and live a healthy life. The spleen is a lymphatic organ that performs the valuable function of filtering blood. It helps remove old and damaged blood cells, and it produces infection-fighting cells to protect your health. tetnus, diphtheria and whooping cough (Tdap). The spleen also makes certain substances that have an important role in inflammation and healing. In many instances, the spleen enlarges as it performs its normal functions. 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