The pancreas is a pale grey gland which weights about 60 grams and is about 5 to 6 inches long. It lies transversely across the posterior abdominal wall and is situated behind the stomach. The pancreas has a broad head, a body and a narrow tail. The head lies in the C-shaped curve of the duodenum, the body behind the stomach and the tail, which reaches the spleen, lies in front of the left kidney. The abdominal aorta and the inferior venacava lie behind the gland structure.
The pancreas consists of a large number of lobules made up of small alveoli the walls of which consist of secretary cells that produces pancreatic juice. From these lobules, small ducts emerge which unite with each other and eventually mach the main pancreatic duct. This duct extends the whole length of the gland and opens into the duodenum at its midpoint. Just before entering the duodenum, the pancreatic duct joins the bile duct to form the ampulla of the bile duct. Throughout the substance of the pancreas, specialized cells are found called as the islets of langerhans which secrets insulin, the hormone and glucagon which passes directly into the blood stream.
Functions of the Pancreas:
Pancreas has two secretions
1. An internal secretions- Insulin secreted from the islets of langerhans which is absorbed directly into the blood to enable the tissues to use sugar.
2. An external secretions – Pancreatic juice which plays an important part in the chemical digestion of food.