The Unnecessary Organ 10% Of Human Beings Have

If you’ve ever had your tonsils removed, you’re probably well aware that you can be A-OK without them (so long as your parents get you ice cream after). Thanks to modern medicine, there are countless other body parts we can get along just fine without (in the case of amputees who’ve experienced limb loss) or those who’ve been the recipient (or donor!) of an organ. Some folks are even born with unexpected bonus organs that don’t really hurt us. Human bodies — they’re sometimes mysterious but always adaptable.

That said, you may have read this headline and immediately jumped to the conclusion that the answer is the spleen. While you’re on the right track, that’s not quite it. It’s true that some people are born without a spleen and others have to have it removed due to illness or damage and they can go on to lead long lives.

Strictly speaking, you don’t need your spleen but it helps. It’s a bit like painting a wall with a brush when a roller would make things easier. Can it be done? Absolutely! Will you (or your body) have to take some extra precautions to get the job done? Maybe.

But today we’re not talking regular spleen. Nope, it turns out that 10% of people are born with bonus spleen content in the form of an accessory spleen — kind of a spleen director’s cut, if you will.

My accessory what now?

Before we can get into the accessory spleen, we need to understand what it’s accessorizing, namely the main spleen. The job of a standard spleen is to help remove waste and kick white blood cells into gear for fighting infection, according to Health Online. And while it’s really helpful with these tasks, it’s not the only organ responsible for them, which explains why people can live (with some immunity precautions) without them.

So, if a person can live without the spleen, what happens when someone is born with an extra spleen? Well, not much, says Medicine Net. According to them, when an individual is born with an accessory spleen, it’s typically about the same amount of tissue as a regular spleen, just split into different pieces. In other words, you might have a smaller-than-average spleen but the additional tissue of an accessory spleen makes up for it.

An accessory spleen causes few, if any, medical problems itself, but may sometimes be mistaken for a tumor, though additional testing will typically rule this false conclusion out. In the meantime, spleenless or spleenful, just know that your body is looking out for you.

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