Accessory spleens (also known as supernumerary spleens, splenunculi, or splenules) are congenital foci of healthy splenic tissue that are separate from the main body of the spleen1. Although usually asymptomatic and incidentally discovered, they are clinically important in some patients.
Accessory spleens are relatively common and are seen in 10 - 30% of patients at autopsy 2.
They arise from the failure of fusion of the splenic anlage, located in the dorsal mesogastrium, during the fifth week of fetal life 2.
Why is it important ?
- It may mimic lymphadenopathy and tumors in other abdominal organs, such as the pancreas, the adrenal gland, and the kidney.
- accessory spleens occasionally may become symptomatic because of torsion, spontaneous rupture, hemorrhage, and cyst formation.
- accessory spleens presence may be important when the intention is to remove all functional splenic tissue (e.g., haematologic disorders) 2.
- 1. Freeman JL, Jafri SZ, Roberts JL et-al. CT of congenital and acquired abnormalities of the spleen. Radiographics. 1993;13 (3): 597-610. Radiographics (citation) - Pubmed citation
- 2. Mortelé KJ, Mortelé B, Silverman SG. CT features of the accessory spleen. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2004;183 (6): 1653-7. AJR Am J Roentgenol (citation) - Pubmed citation
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