More than likely, you’ve heard the diagnosis “ruptured spleen,” as your favorite TV doctor rushes a trauma patient in for emergency surgery. Other than hearing the word a few times, what do you really know about the spleen?
The spleen seems to be a forgotten organ of the body, but it’s an important support system for some of the body’s most vital functions.
Where is it and what does it look like?
Your spleen is located on the left side of your abdomen, underneath the diaphragm. It sits to the left and slightly behind an organ that you’re probably more familiar with, your stomach. The spleen is purplish in color, and some would say it resembles a small catcher’s mitt. If you clinch your fist really tight, that’s about the size of your spleen.
What does it do?
Your spleen operates much like the kitchen staff of a large restaurant. It filters, produces and stores. A restaurant kitchen staff receives multiple packages of produce from outside vendors. Produce from those packages must be inspected for rotting pieces, mold or any abnormalities that won’t produce quality menu items. Abnormal produce will be discarded, while good quality produce will be used to make appetizing dishes or stored away for future use.
Your spleen receives blood via the splenic artery. It filters the blood and removes the red blood cells that are damaged, abnormal or old. The spleen uses lymphocytes to produce white blood cells that fight off germs and bacteria which are present in the blood stream. The spleen also acts…