Can we live without a spleen?

We tend to worry about certain organs of our body, tending to take care of them more and to opt for food or natural supplements that help us in their protection and purification. An example is the case of stomach, of the liver or of the kidneys. However, have you ever wondered what the spleen is, what it is for, and above all you have been concerned with discovering how to care for and protect it? The truth is that we are facing a fundamental organ for the proper functioning of our immune system, but it is not until we suffer an accident, a disease or a condition that forces its extirpation, when in reality we realize that it exists and that it is there.

The spleen is an organ formed by cells, especially by lymphocytes, and by blood. We found it located in the abdomen, under the ribs, specifically to the right of the stomach. It has a pink color, in a normal state (that is, when it is not enlarged or inflamed) it tends to weigh between 100 to 250 grams, and it is not possible to palpate it unless its volume increases as a consequence of a certain condition or disease .

Among its main functions it becomes a tool of our fundamental body to defend itself from external aggressions, being part of our own immune system. Among other aspects, it contributes to the development of antibodies, helps our body defend itself against some infectious agents (such as meningococcus, pneumococcus and haemophilus), and participates in both the production and maintenance of certain white blood cells and red blood cells.

But its functions do not end here, since it not only deals with important functions of our immune system. On the other hand, for example, it intervenes in the digestive process participating in the transport and absorption of nutrients, it is useful in the transport of water and in the maintenance of body moisture, and acts as a filter in the blood circulation itself.

Taking into account all the functions that it carries out directly and in which it participates indirectly, it is evident that we ask ourselves a question: Is it possible to live without a spleen?.

As we mentioned before in a very brief way, it is very common for a certain accident in which the spleen has been affected, finally it is decided its extirpation. It is one of the most common causes, but not the only one. Also certain diseases influence that it has to be extracted: it is the case of conditions that cause a considerable increase in its volume (enlargement and / or inflammation) and that therefore annoys the neighboring organs, especially the stomach. Other pathologies can influence its extirpation, such as splenic lymphoma, some forms of thalassemia, Gaucher's disease (genetic condition) and those that cause a reduction of blood platelets.

Yes, it is possible to live without a spleen and have an absolutely normal life. However, those who do not have a spleen as a result of its removal tend to become more sensitive to certain infections, especially those of the meningococcal type. As a result of an infectious peritonitis (accumulation of body fluids, blood or pus in the abdomen produced by infectious agents and causing inflammation of the peritoneum) it is also possible to have more risk of lung disease, meningitis or septicemia.

That is to say, a person who does not have a spleen will have a greater predisposition to suffer more infections compared to a person who does., since your immune system can not work completely (we must not forget that this organ is part of the defenses of our body). Yes, will be left with fewer defenses against infections caused by bacteria, but will remain protected from viral infections.

Let's say that being immunosuppressed people can live perfectly without a spleen but they should be more careful. In this sense, vaccination of pneumococcus and haemophilia is useful if the person has not yet been vaccinated, and if fever or general malaise occurs, go to the doctor so that he can study if a bacterial infection could exist or not, treating it so that it does not be a more serious condition.

Can you live without a spleen? ( spleen functions ) (May 2024)