Where is the Spleen Located and What is its Function?

The spleen is a very useful part of the body that aids the body’s immune system. There are certain problems associated with the spleen like liver disease and hemolytic anemia.

What is spleen

The spleen is an important part of the human body. Just like all other constituents of the human body, it is located at a vantage position from where it can carry out all its important functions efficiently. You might be wondering now where is it located? We will get to answer this shortly. First, you need to understand more about the spleen.

The ribs keep your spleen protected so it can safely perform its supportive roles. Its majorly functions as a part of your immune system. It keeps the body fluid balanced and can be described as the largest part of the body’s lymphatic system. There are also some problems connected to the spleen most of which can be treated if noticed on time. Only a few are life-threatening. Some conditions would require the total removal of the spleen but this is not a major cause for worry as human beings can survive without it. The only disadvantage is that such a person will be more prone to infections.  

Where Is The Spleen Located?

The spleen is generally soft and has a purplish color and is located under your ribcage and at the top of the stomach at the left higher abdomen quadrant. It can be found precisely between the ninth and eleventh ribs. It consists of two kinds of tissue, white pulp, and red pulp tissues. The red tissue is responsible for filtering the blood to get rid of damaged or old RBCs. The white tissue, on the other hand, is made up of the immune T and B cells, it fights infection alongside the immune system.

Function

The spleen filters blood and controls the number of RBCs in it. It also helps the body to store up blood and to fight against infections. When potentially harmful bacteria, microorganisms, or viruses get into the blood. It detects them immediately and it teams up with the nodes of the lymph to create a group of white blood cells known as lymphocytes. Together they act in defense against these intruding invaders. These lymphocytes produce certain components known as antibodies that kill off foreign bodies and prevent infections from disseminating around the body.

Medical studies have found out that the flow of blood into your spleen causes the RBCs to go through narrow pathways inside the organ. Healthy RBCs pass through with ease while the damaged or old RBCs are destroyed by the waiting WBCs. It is a good organ because while it breaks down these blood cells it saves their useful components like iron so that it can be used again in the new cells.

The spleen also can increase its size for blood storage. This organ can be narrowed or widened depending on what the body needs per time. The amount of blood that can be reserved in the spleen is up to one full cup.

Problems Of The Spleen

Irrespective of how great the spleen is, it is prone to having problems like any other part of your body. Some of these problems include:

Ruptured or lacerated spleen

Spleen ruptures and lacerations usually happen from trauma like contact sports or motor accidents. These situations can cause break the surface of the spleen leading to internal bleeding and other shock signs. If proper emergency care is not administered as soon as possible then it can become a life-threatening situation.  

Instead of spleen breakage, there is also a laceration that can occur. The word laceration describes a lower degree of injury whereby only a portion of the spleen gets damaged. The highest degree of spleen breakage is a ruptured spleen.

The symptoms of a ruptured or lacerated spleen include tenderness or pain around the region where it is located that is the left wall of the chest, left shoulder, and the left abdomen side. There can also be lightheartedness and confusion. if any of these symptoms are noticed after a person has been through a trauma please seek urgent medical care immediately. The treatment option is based on the injury’s condition. A low degree of laceration may heal without going through surgery, although the patient might have to be admitted to the hospital for proper and direct observation. A higher degree of ruptures or lacerations may require surgery to be carried out. This surgery is aimed at repairing the spleen, a part of it might be removed during surgery. Human beings can live without this organbut they would be more open to several infections.

Enlarged Spleen

Another name for a spleen that is enlarged is splenomegaly. This is a severe but treatable condition. Those with this condition are prone to future ruptures. Just about anyone can have splenomegaly but it is said that those who have a higher risk are children with mononucleosis, travelers, or dwellers in malaria-endemic regions, adults suffering from Niemann-Pick and Gaucher’s disease.

Liver diseases, Knowlton based infection, blood diseases, and cancers are typical causes of splenomegaly. Mayo clinic listed some specific diseases and infections:

  • Viral infections like mononucleosis
  • Bacterial infections
  • Parasitic infections like malaria
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Hemolytic anemia
  • Liver diseases like cirrhosis
  • Lymphomas and blood cancers like Hodgkin’s diseases
  • Blood clots or pressure in the liver veins

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