The organ also plays an important role in storing and releasing certain types of immune cells that mediate tissue inflammation. However, medical supplementation is often needed in such cases. Although the spleen is an important organ, it is not vital for human survival. But you’ll need to take extra precautions to prevent infections. Other conditions that cause an enlarged spleen include: When your spleen enlarges, it can’t filter your blood as efficiently as it once did. Individuals without a spleen may be mor… Don’t share personal items like silverware, toothbrushes, or drinks with other people, especially if you know they’ve been sick with an infection like mono. More recently, it was found that the spleen acts as a storage space for monocytes, highly aggressive forms of white blood cells, which become macrophages at the site of infections to eat pathogens and prevent tissue damage. The spleen plays multiple supporting roles in the body. Leukemia is a cancer of the blood cells. This is particularly important for people who suffer from heart problems, as monocytes are instrumental in repairing heart tissue following a heart attack. 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 human spleen is about the size of a fist and is tucked under the left ribcage. Functions of the spleen The spleen’s primary job is to filter the blood. Our website services, content, and products are for informational purposes only. © 2005 - 2020 WebMD LLC. How Long Does Coronavirus Live On Surfaces? The function of spleen is to make new red blood cells and destroy old cells. An enlarged spleen is usually detected during a physical exam. It serves important immune functions. The spleen sits under your rib cage in the upper left part of your abdomen toward your back. 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. The spleen works with other organs in the body to complete the tasks of blood storage, fighting infection and filtering the blood. Because the spleen is protected by the rib cage, you can’t easily feel it unless it’s abnormally enlarged. It acts as a filter for blood as part of the immune system. Infections and injuries can damage your spleen and cause it to enlarge or even rupture. It's often discovered during a routine physical exam. It recognizes and removes old, malformed, or damaged red blood cells. An enlarged spleen may not cause symptoms at first. The spleen is made up of two types of tissue – the white and the red pulp – and they each serve a different function. 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. However, there are a few preventable causes of an enlarged spleen, such as avoiding infections or injuries that could damage it. Old red blood cells are recycled in … It does this by breaking down and removing cells that are abnormal, old, or damaged. Your spleen is an organ located just below your left rib cage. 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. Yet without your spleen, you will be more likely to get certain infections. The spleen also helps fight certain kinds of bacteria that cause pneumonia and meningitis. Anatomy and function of the spleen. Spleen Functions In Chinese Medicine Spleen function takes what comes from the Stomach, and transforms it into Blood, fluids and Energy (‘Qi’), then transports these round the body. Mayo Clinic: "Enlarged spleen (splenomegaly).". It can become significantly larger when a person is sick or injured. It helps remove old and damaged blood cells, and it produces infection-fighting cells to protect your health. tetnus, diphtheria and whooping cough (Tdap). All rights reserved. The white pulp produces white blood cells, called lymphocytes, which play an important role in the body’s protection against infections. Steps to Take, The Spleen (Human Anatomy): Picture, Definition, Function, and Related Conditions, Blood Disorder Types, Symptoms, and Treatments. It usually cannot be felt as most of it is shielded by the ribs. Gayer, G. British Journal of Radiology, 2001; vol 74: pp 764-772. While it is an important organ , it can be removed when necessary without causing death. Get the statistics on survival rates, find out the most common symptoms, diagnostic options, and treatments. Your spleen's main function is to act as a filter for your blood. . 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. Learn more about your spleen: https://wb.md/31itxLVIt's that organ right behind the stomach and under the lungs, but honestly what does the spleen do? 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 many amphibians, especially frogs, it has the more rounded form and there is often a greater quantity of white pulp. The sigmoid vein, also called the vena sigmoideus, refers to one group of sigmoid veins. 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. 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. The spleen has a few important functions: It fights any invading germs in the blood (the spleen contains infection-fighting white blood cells). If it’s damaged by disease or injury, it can be removed without threatening your life. Spleen Function in Human Body “The spleen … serves as a blood filter; it manages the amount of red blood cells and blood storage in the body, and assists to eliminate infection,” said Jordan Knowlton, a sophisticated registered nurse practitioner at the University of … All rights reserved. Many different conditions can cause the spleen to enlarge, especially diseases that cause blood cells to break down too quickly. 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. Old red blood cells are recycled in the spleen, and platelets and white blood cells are stored there. The red … The spleen is a reservoir of blood and when needed, blood can be ‘squeezed’ out and enter the circulation. The spleen is part of your lymphatic system, which fights infection and keeps your body fluids in balance. 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. WebMD does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The spleen sits in the upper left part of your abdomen. The spleen is the largest lymphoid organ and has a crucial function in the immune system. As the spleen is not the only organ responsible for any of these functions, the spleen is not a necessary organ. Smart Grocery Shopping When You Have Diabetes, Surprising Things You Didn't Know About Dogs and Cats, Coronavirus in Context: Interviews With Experts. One of the spleen’s main jobs is to filter your blood. \"The spleen . . The OALD dictionary defines the organ as: It removes unwanted materials and abnormal cells in … These veins are tributaries of the inferior mesenteric vein…, The small intestine is made up of the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum. In cartilaginous and ray-finned fish, it consists primarily of red pulp and is normally somewhat elongated, as it lies inside the serosal lining of the intestine. It plays an important role- in the body’s defense against infection. (Moderate drinking means no more than one drink a day for women, and two for men.). It controls the level of blood cells. One major function is that this organ filters blood, removing foreign bodies, microbes, and faulty red blood cells (R… The spleen is responsible for the production and maturation of IgM, B lymphocytes, and opsonins 1). The surgery to remove your spleen is called a splenectomy. The lymphatic system helps remove cellular waste, maintain fluid balance, and make and activate infection-fighting white blood cells for the immune system. bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections such as syphilis, blood cancers such as Hodgkin’s disease, leukemia, and lymphoma, metabolic disorders like Gaucher’s disease and Niemann-Pick disease, a blood clot in a vein of the spleen or liver. The lymphatic system helps remove cellular waste, maintain fluid balance, and make and activate infection-fighting white blood cells for … The appendicular vein removes oxygen-depleted blood from the appendix, which is located at the bottom of the ascending colon. The spleen is part of your body’s lymphatic system. The spleen is an organ in the upper far left part of the abdomen, to the left of the stomach. Your spleen also helps control the amount of blood in your body, and destroys old and damaged cells. 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. In some people, it originates from the left or right hepatic…, The ascending colon (or right colon) is the beginning part of the colon. This causes no problems and is considered normal. Avoid contact sports and other high-impact activities until cleared by your doctor. In many instances, the spleen enlarges as it performs its normal functions. Yes, you can live without your spleen. It is possible to have the spleen removed and live a healthy life. It acts as a filter for blood as part of the immune system. It’s located behind your ribs, under your diaphragm, and above and behind to your stomach. It is the size of a human fist. A study published in 2009 using mice found that the red pulp of the spleen forms a reservoir that contains over half of the body's monocytes. The spleen is an oval-shaped organ that sits under the rib cage on the left-hand side of the body. It’s an important organ, but not essential. The spleen is an internal organ, about the size of a fist, found in the human abdomen. The spleen plays multiple supporting roles in the body. This organ is part of your immune system. Spleen performs the following functions in your body: Spleen helps in filtering and purifying blood. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation to protect your liver and avoid cirrhosis. And if you do get sick, it can take longer than usual for you to recover. © 2005-2020 Healthline Media a Red Ventures Company. Many causes of an enlarged spleen, such as cancer or blood cell abnormalities may be unavoidable. 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. It is usually located on the right side of the body, extending from the cecum…. 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. The spleen is an organ located in the upper left part of the abdomen, behind the stomach and under the diaphragm. Use a condom every time you have sex with a new, untested partner to protect you from sexually transmitted infections. Your doctor generally can't feel a normal-sized spleen in adults but can feel an enlarged spleen. If the damage is extensive, you might need surgery to remove your spleen. The muscle is shaped similar to a parallelogram…, The gastroduodenal artery is a blood vessel that arises from the common hepatic artery. Sign Up to Receive Our Free Coroanvirus Newsletter, Gastroparesis: What to Eat and What to Avoid, Newly Diagnosed With Crohn's? The spleen performs several helpful functions for the body, including making antibodies, removing bacteria, removing old red blood cells, breaking down waste products of red blood cells, recycling iron for use in new red blood cells, and holding a reserve of red blood cells and immune cells which the body can use in case of emergencies. The spleen most importantly protects against infections from polysaccharide-encapsulated bacteria including Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae type B, Neisseria meningitidis, Escherichia coli, Salmonella, Klebsiella, and group B Streptococci (SHiNE SKiS) 2). Your doctor can often feel it by gently examining your left upper abdomen. Wear your seatbelt whenever you drive or ride in a car. As far as position of spleen in human body is concerned, it is located in the upper left part of our … 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. 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 spleen can also become injured or rupture immediately after a hard hit to the abdomen, a rib fracture, or other accident. . The spleen varies in size and shape between people, but it’s commonly fist-shaped, purple, and about 4 inches long. The spleen also makes certain substances that have an important role in inflammation and healing. The spleen controls the level of white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets (small cells that form blood clots) The spleen is an organ containing blood vessels and lymph nodes. Accessory spleen: About 10% of people have a small extra spleen. If your spleen enlarges too much, it can rupture. It is a soft, purple, vascular organ, shaped like a small smooth rounded catcher's mitt with notches on the upper front edge. 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’s also responsible for making substances that play an important role in inflammation and healing. You can live a normal, healthy life without a spleen. The spleen also stores red blood cells, platelets, and infection-fighting white blood cells. This is possible because other organs, such as the liver and bone marrow , can perform filtration functions in the body. What Are Chronic Myeloproliferative Disorders? Last medically reviewed on March 8, 2018. This fist-shaped, oblong organ is purple, and it weighs about 6 ounces in healthy individuals. It may accidentally filter out normal red blood cells and platelets, leaving fewer healthy blood cells in your body. An enlargement of the spleen that leads to the destruction of too many blood cells is a condition called hypersplenism. What Is Paroxysmal Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria (PNH)? Eventually, it can become painful. Your spleen is a small organ located on the left side of your abdomen under your rib cage. Your spleen is involved in your body’s immune response, and in recycling old blood cells. When it detects bacteria, viruses, or other germs in your blood, it produces white blood cells, called lymphocytes, to fight off these infections. Usually, treatments for spleen conditions focus not on the spleen, but on treating the underlying condition. The following spleen definitions will add to your understanding of the spleen location and function. The spleen also acts as the primar… 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. Here are a few tips: If you do develop an enlarged spleen, follow the treatment plan your doctor recommends. Here's what you need to know about spleen cancer, including causes, symptoms, treatment options, and more. If you play football or other contact sports, wear safety gear, including padding, to help protect your spleen and other organs from injury. An excess destruction of blood cells, for example, can overwork the spleen, and cause it to enlarge. Your lymph nodes and liver can take over many of the spleen’s important functions. As the lymph nodes are filters for the lymphatic circulation, the spleen is the primary filtering element for the blood. It contains white blood cells that fight germs. The spleen is part of your body’s lymphatic system. The spleen is a lymphatic organ that performs the valuable function of filtering blood. However, one of the main functions of the spleen … Certain diseases might cause your spleen to … Healthline Media does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It’s difficult to protect the health of the spleen. The spleen plays an important role in your immune system response. National Institutes of Health web site: “Spleen Diseases.”. This can lead to removal of the spleen. 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