What Does the Spleen Do?
The human spleen is an organ that is not necessary for survival, although unlike the appendix it is a useful organ. It is located in the upper left corner of the abdomen, just behind the stomach. The main function of the spleen is to filter blood. When an infection is detected in the human body the spleen, which carries blood stores, will filter the infected blood. The spleen will then destroy the infected, or old, red blood cells.
Without a spleen a person is more susceptible to infections. The sum it up, your body has red and white blood cells in it. The red blood cells carry oxygen to the rest of the cells in your body, your extremities, your brain, the list goes on. The white blood cells are used to fight infections, or other ‘invaders’. These white blood cells single out infected red blood cells and destroy the infection. The spleen has sinuses in it which either contain red pulp or white pulp, the white pulp fights infection like white blood cells, and the red pulp simply removes unwanted material.
You can think of your blood cells as the infantry against infection and the spleen as artillery. You can lose your artillery and still win a battle with infection, although it’s not going to be as easy.