Acute Pancreatitis .NET

Anatomy of the Pancreas

The pancreas is the second largest gland in a human body after the liver. It has an alveolar-tubular structure keeps the hormonal balance in shape and is responsible for the important stages of digestion.  

Most part of the pancreas generates enzymes which are released into the duodenum. The rest of its parenchyma cells produce the hormone insulin that supports normal carbohydrate metabolism. This part of the gland is called the islets of Langerhans or beta cells.

The pancreas is located behind the stomach at the level of the first and second  lumbar vertebra. It looks like a flattened gradually tapering band in which there are three parts: head, body and tail.

The head is the widest part (1.2 - 3 inch). It is situated to the right of the spine in the inner bend of the duodenum.   

The body of the pancreas (width 0.8 - 2 inch) is placed in front of and slightly to the left of the spine. It has a rear, front and bottom surfaces.

The tail is the most narrow part of the gland (0.12 to 1.4 inches) reaches the gates of the spleen. There is a pancreatic duct inside of the pancreas that passes from the tail to the head.

The normal size of the pancreas is 6.4 to 8.8 inches.  Outwardly, it resembles the letter S.

The pancreas is located in the space behind the peritoneum, therefore, it is the most locked organ of the abdominal cavity. If a person is lying, then it really will be under the stomach. Actually, the pancreas is closer to the back behind the stomach.

The projection of the pancreas:
• The body at the level of the first lumbar vertebra;
• The head at the level of the first and third lumbar vertebrae;
• The tail is above one vertebra than the body of the pancreas.

Anatomy of nearby organs: behind its head there is the postcava, beginning of the portal vein, the right renal vein and artery, common bile duct. From the rear of body gland there is an abdominal part of the aorta, lymph nodes, celiac plexus. Along the body of the gland there is the splenic vein. A part of the left kidney, the renal artery and vein, the left adrenal gland lying behind the tail. Ahead of the pancreas there is the stomach; they are separated from each other  by the omental bursa.