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Definition

Pancreas

The pancreas is a soft, lobulated organ that stretches obliquely across the posterior abdominal wall in the epigastric region. It is situated behind the stomach and extends from the duodenum to the spleen.

The pancreas is both an exocrine and endocrine gland. The exocrine portion of the gland produces a secretion that contains enzymes capable of hydrolyzing proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. The endocrine portion of the gland, the pancreatic islets (islets of Langerhans), produces the hormones insulin and glucagon, which play a key role in carbohydrate metabolism.

This pancreas is an elongated structure that lies in the epigastrium and the left upper quadrant. It is soft and lobulated and situated on the posterior abdominal wall behind the peritoneum. It crosses the transpyloric plane.

Pancreas is divided into a head, neck, body, and tail. The head of the pancreas is disc shaped and lies within the concavity of the duodenum. A part of the head extends to the left behind the superior mesenteric vessels and is called the uncinate process.

Webster Dictionary Meaning

1. Pancreas
- The sweetbread, a gland connected with the intestine of nearly all vertebrates. It is usually elongated and light-colored, and its secretion, called the pancreatic juice, is discharged, often together with the bile, into the upper part of the intestines, and is a powerful aid in digestion. See Illust. of Digestive apparatus.
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