Even I, the spleen, don't know what I doThe Spleen

Location and Appearance

The Spleen sits in the Left Upper Quadrant to the left of the stomach and beneath the diaphragm. The size and contour vary between individuals. Generally it will be up to 12cm long. Since it sits high up under the ribs it typically can only be felt when enlarged.
It is the largest of the ductless glands. It is a wedge-shaped, long, flattened organ with a purplish hue.

Quick Fact:
The spleen functions as a filter for blood as part of the immune system. Old red blood cells are recycled in the spleen, and platelets and white blood cells are stored there.

Variants (accessory spleen)

The most common variant of the spleen will actually be an accessory structure. These accessory spleens (also known as splenule, supernumerary spleen or splenunculus) are frequently found at the splenic hilum, gastrolienal ligament and/or greater omentum. These are small nodules of splenic tissue which are either isolated or connected to the spleen by thin bands of splenic tissue. They range in size from little like a pea to large like a plum.

Vascular Anatomy of the Spleen

The Spleen is a highly vascular structure. The Splenic Vein (sometimes known as the Lienal Vein) is the product of 4 or 5 vessels that come from the spleen. These come together to form a single vessel, which courses from left to right, passing the upper/back part of the pancreas, and it terminates behind the neck of the pancreas by joining the superior mesenteric to form the portal vein. The splenic vein is a large vessel, but not very tortuous. The Splenic Artery (Lienal Artery) sits above the vein and is somewhat tortuous.

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I am the founder and lead Instructor here at ExamRefresh.com. I strive to help those that are entering the field of Ultrasound to be the best that they can be. Ultrasound is my passion.

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  1. Splenunculus – what a great word – sounds like a spell uttered by the likes of Harry Potter & pals!

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