From the outside, humans and most other animals appear to be almost perfectly symmetrical, but on the inside things are quite different. There are several organs in the human body that come in sets of two, but others work alone without a matching partner. Often times, these solitary organs are asymmetrically structured to begin with, and all of the organs inside the body have to make the best use of the space they have available. The result is that the organs on the left and right sides of the body are not exactly the same. In this article, we’ll discuss the various organs on the right side of the body.
Organs on the left and right side of the human body
Let’s start with the organs that the right and left sides of the body have in common, starting from the top and working our way down. The cerebrum of the brain is divided more or less symmetrically into two hemispheres, one on the right and one on the left. The right hemisphere governs different functions from the left, including problem solving, spatial awareness, and memory. The right hemisphere of the brain also controls movements in the left side of the body.
The organs of the respiratory and upper digestive tract are also mostly symmetrical on the right and left sides of the body, running through the center of the body. For example, the larynx and trachea of the respiratory system and the pharynx and esophagus of the digestive system are what we would generally think of as “the throat”, which is centered in the body and roughly symmetrical. The trachea branches out to the two lungs, one on the right and one on the left, without any considerable differences between the two lungs.
The human heart has pseudo symmetry, but if you look at it you can see that it’s not truly symmetrical at all. The heart is situated slightly to the left of the central plane of the body in the chest cavity, so that the parts of the heart that are actually on the right side of the body are the right atrium and a portion of the right ventricle. The right side of the body also contains both the superior and inferior vena cava, as well as the ascending aorta.
The urinary tract is also fairly symmetrical, with one kidney on each side below the liver (with the right kidney being slightly lower than the left), each with a ureter which drains into the urinary bladder. The bladder is more or less centrally aligned and symmetrical.
Finally, the reproductive organs in males and females are symmetrical. In men, the right and left testes are approximately the same size and shape and centered on the body within the scrotum behind the penis. In women, the uterus is centered in the lower abdominal cavity, with symmetrical Fallopian tubes and ovaries, one on the right and one on the left.
Organs found only on the right side of the human body
The main differences between organs on the right side of the body and those on the left begin in the upper quadrants of the abdominal cavity.
First, although the liver spans both the right and left sides of the body, it is a very asymmetrical organ, with the right side being much larger than the left (this is why the right kidney is located lower than the left). The gallbladder is also located on the right side of the body. Almost none of the stomach can be found on the right side of the body, just a tiny fraction which connects to the duodenum of the small intestine. Farther along in the small intestine, the jejunum is situation slightly right of center in the body (the ileum is found on the left side).
The cecum, which is where the small intestine merges with the large intestine (colon), is found on the right side of the human body, as well as the ascending colon and roughly half of the transverse colon. Finally, the appendix is an organ that can only be found on the right side of the human body.
Knowing the various organs on the right side of the body, and how they are different from the left side, is important for understanding overall human anatomy. It can even help identify which organs might be causing pain in some cases, like with appendicitis or gallbladder problems.