View previous topic | View next topic

Organs

Page 1 of 2
Goto page 1, 2  Next

dr.bob
314402.  Fri Apr 11, 2008 5:55 am Reply with quote

Indeed. If you took the intestines out of someone and emptied them, then let them flop on the table, I reckon their volume would be considerably less than the liver.

By contrast, you could probably take out somebody's bladder and inflate it massively. Would that make it that largest organ by volume?

 
MatC
314409.  Fri Apr 11, 2008 6:00 am Reply with quote

dr.bob wrote:
you could probably take out somebody's bladder and inflate it massively. Would that make it that largest organ by volume?


Ooh, I can feel another Boris Johnson joke coming on!

 
suze
314430.  Fri Apr 11, 2008 6:21 am Reply with quote

Sensing that a person with medical knowledge would be useful for this one, I had a quick chat with Fiona (smiley) about it last evening.

She made the same point as dr.bob about the topological matter - while the empty space inside the organ is topologically outside the body, the organ itself is not. So we can't say that the intestines and lungs are outside the body, but we can say that they are on the outside of the body.


Which causes a bit of an issue with the question as now phrased. We seem to be in general agreement that the skin is the largest organ of all, but it's not an internal organ. Only problem is that on our topological basis, neither is the small intestine or the lung, while the liver is. (Fiona agrees with the suggestion of 1500 cm³ as a typical liver volume, and with 6000 cm³ as typical of two healthy lungs - but that last includes air space, as does egg's value for the small intestine.)

Hmmm, we seem to be able to justify skin, small intestine, and liver as possible answers to the question. Damn. One thing which is undeniable; the liver is the largest gland in the human body. (Rude drinking songs notwithstanding, the male member is not a gland.)

 
Jenny
314580.  Fri Apr 11, 2008 11:01 am Reply with quote

What about mammary glands? I'm sure I've seen some that would be larger than the average liver.

 
suze
314600.  Fri Apr 11, 2008 12:08 pm Reply with quote

I've encountered breasts that are larger than the average liver, certainly. But in fact, the mammary gland is only part of the breast, and is reasonably constant in size from woman to woman in the same condition. (The mammary glands become enlarged when a woman is pregnant or lactating, and there is also a slight change in size over the menstrual cycle.)

But in the normal way, the greater part of the volume of the breast is adipose tissue (i.e. fat), which doesn't count as part of the mammary gland.

 
WB
314619.  Fri Apr 11, 2008 1:23 pm Reply with quote

Pedantic I know, but I think that the other caveat here is that the question should be phrased about a normal, healthy human. There are various medical conditions where particular organs can become enlarged (e.g. elephantiasis of the testes).

 
WB
315252.  Sun Apr 13, 2008 4:06 am Reply with quote

As a piece of serendipity, this was in todays Sunday Times (13/4/08):

Look, no scars: organs removed via the mouth.

THE minister charged with overhauling the NHS is testing a new form of scar-free surgery in which diseased organs are pulled out through the patient’s throat.

Professor Lord Darzi, chair of surgery at Imperial College London, has conducted preliminary experiments with the technique in which robotically controlled instruments are lowered into the patient’s stomach.

A hole is made in the lining of the stomach, then the organ - usually an appendix or gall bladder - is cut out and pulled up through the throat before the hole is stitched, leaving the patient with no external scars and a reduced risk of infection because the wounds are not exposed to the air.

The technique, called natural orifice translumenal endoscopic surgery, has been successfully used on patients in America, France and India. Darzi, who became a health minister last year, is one of the first surgeons in Britain to use the technique in experiments on pigs, before the first human tests.

While admitting it was still “early days”, Darzi believes the probe could eventually be used to remove cancers.

The main after-effects include a sore throat and an unpleasant taste in the mouth from having a diseased organ pulled through it.

Other orifices could be used but Darzi said he believed the mouth was the most promising. He said some aspects of the procedure needed perfecting.

“If we are going to enter through the stomach we need to develop the appropriate tools to make sure we can close the hole properly,” he said.

Darzi’s team are developing a new surgical robot called the iSnake, which they hope will assist in the new procedure and in keyhole surgery.

Other research projects on the new procedure are under way at hospitals around Britain. The first operations on patients in Britain are expected in three to four years.

Links neatly to sword swallowing I would have thought.

 
eggshaped
327162.  Tue Apr 29, 2008 9:56 am Reply with quote

Here's another one which you all can probably help with. Which is the strongest muscle in the body?

From wik:

Quote:
In ordinary parlance, muscular "strength" usually refers to the ability to exert a force on an external object—for example, lifting a weight. By this definition, the masseter or jaw muscle is the strongest.

If "strength" refers to the force exerted by the muscle itself, e.g., on the place where it inserts into a bone, then the strongest muscles are those with the largest cross-sectional area. By this definition, the strongest muscle of the body is usually said to be the quadriceps femoris or the gluteus maximus.

A shorter muscle will be stronger "pound for pound" (i.e., by weight) than a longer muscle. The myometrial layer of the uterus may be the strongest muscle by weight in the human body. At the time when an infant is delivered, the entire human uterus weighs about 1.1 kg (40 oz). During childbirth, the uterus exerts 100 to 400 N (25 to 100 lbf) of downward force with each contraction.


Purely for the good of the show, I'd like the answer to be the uterus or the backside, but what do people think?

 
eggshaped
327167.  Tue Apr 29, 2008 10:06 am Reply with quote

Also, what else is the equivalent of 400N?

 
dr.bob
327212.  Tue Apr 29, 2008 10:47 am Reply with quote

Having a 40kg weight lying on you will give a force of (roughly) 400N (assuming gravitation acceleration is 10m/s^2, which it isn't, it's 9.81m/s^2, but that's close enough).

 
Davini994
638988.  Sat Nov 21, 2009 2:17 pm Reply with quote

wik wrote:
A shorter muscle will be stronger "pound for pound" (i.e., by weight) than a longer muscle. The myometrial layer of the uterus may be the strongest muscle by weight in the human body. At the time when an infant is delivered, the entire human uterus weighs about 1.1 kg (40 oz). During childbirth, the uterus exerts 100 to 400 N (25 to 100 lbf) of downward force with each contraction.

So in theory babies less than 40kg can be fired up and across the room like a cannonball.

Surely the only sensible way to measure how big an organ is the mass, so that we aren't including all the process stuff inside. I know that's not technically size but it's the only thing that works.

I think the small intestine will be jolly thin and therefore jolly light once the partially digested food is taken out, but I've failed to prove it too.

 
grizzly
639040.  Sat Nov 21, 2009 3:39 pm Reply with quote

I don't know if the largest organ idea was resolved but can I suggest the skin as the largest organ? I think I've heard this before although I can't offer any sources.

 
Davini994
639052.  Sat Nov 21, 2009 3:48 pm Reply with quote

eggshaped wrote:
What, by volume, is the largest internal organ in the human body?

(my emphasis)

 
grizzly
639064.  Sat Nov 21, 2009 3:59 pm Reply with quote

I could start some semantics about layers of skin and what is internal/external, but I think I would be missing the point somewhat.

 
suze
639096.  Sat Nov 21, 2009 5:38 pm Reply with quote

As you'll see upthread, there was some discussion about the word "internal", and a couple of people got all topological on us.

Which may well be why we didn't use that bit of the question!

 

Page 1 of 2
Goto page 1, 2  Next

All times are GMT - 5 Hours


Display posts from previous:   

Search Search Forums

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group