A medical team from Ireland has discovered the importance of the mesentery, an organ mentioned by Leonardo da Vinci in one of his writings on human anatomy at the beginning of the 16th century. Today its relevance is now understood.
A reclassification of the mesentery was provided in an article in the medical journal The Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology. The article describes it as a part of the human body that connects the intestines to the abdomen, as a unique organ and as a continuum of the digestive system. This discovery is key to better understanding certain abdominal and stomach diseases and will help to further examine current treatment.
This research explains that instead of being considered a grouping of isolated structures, the mesentery is a single, continuous organ that runs through the length of the intestine. It turns into a folded membrane that completely protects a network of blood vessels, lymphatic ducts and nerves.
A better understanding of the mesentery could lead to less invasive surgeries, less complications, faster patient recovery times and an overall reduction in medical costs. The next step for researchers is to focus on the function of this organ.
The mesentery is now part of the nearly 80 organs that make up the human body and which vary in size, function and in how they work.