Leonardo da Vinci made one of the earliest descriptions of the mesentery, a supposed new organ discovered by doctors. It was previously thought to be an insignificant attachment and doctors who studied it assumed it was a fragmented structure made of separate sections, which made it pretty unimportant. But all that is changing.

New Organ Discovered: The Mesentery

New Research on the Mesentery

Recent research from the doctors at the University Hospital Limerick in Ireland shows that the new organ discovered is actually one single band of tissue. It begins in the pancreas and wraps around the small intestine and colon. Its purpose is to hold these organs in position so they can perform their respective functions.

So instead of being made up of fragmented, separate structures, it is actually one continuous organ. It’s made up of a double fold of peritoneum – the lining of the abdominal cavity – that attaches our intestine to the wall of our abdomen and keeps everything locked in place.

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This New Organ is Crucial to our Understanding

According to Dr. J. Calvin Coffey, a colorectal surgeon at Limerick, “Understanding how and why our digestive system is arranged the way it is could be crucial to our understanding of diseases like Crohn’s and irritable bowel syndrome.”

The Mesentery’s Single Structure


Evidently, new understanding about this organ will give a fresh perspective to solving certain diseases. Now that it’s been clarified that the mesentery is one structure, it can be systematically examined in relation to the body’s other organs.

It’s Still Poorly Understood

Although we now know about the structure of this new organ, its function is still poorly understood, and studying it could be the key to better understanding and treating abdominal and digestive disease.

Now that we understand the mesentery as a single organ, research can investigate how it affects the body, and if it has any effect on certain gastrointestinal diseases. It’s odd how doctors of anatomy were able to get this one aspect of our body’s so wrong for so long, but now that our understanding is improving it will be interesting to see what progress is made in treating certain diseases.

(1) WebMd. Scientists identify new organ in body http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/news/20170104/new-organ-identified Published: January 4, 2017. Accessed: January 30, 2017.

(2) Science Alert. It’s official: A brand new human organ has been classified http://www.sciencealert.com/it-s-official-a-brand-new-human-organ-has-been-classified Published: January 3, 2017. Accessed: January 30, 2017.

(3) Youtube. You now have a new organ: Meet the mesentery https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KVoiR5I7VN0 Published: January 6, 2017. Accessed: January 30, 2017.

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