Organs are made up of tissues and groups of cells and contain different types of functions. They serve various purposes in the human body. But we often wonder, how do people who lack important organs continue to live as healthily as possible? We can only think of and develop one logical answer: not all organs are necessary for survival.
Here are some examples to better understand:
The word “lungs” makes many think of the respiratory system. We know that breathing is, without a doubt, an important process to life. Despite this, it is still possible to live after a lung is removed due to health issues such as cancer. This surgical procedure has a name and is called “pneumonectomy”. Many who have undergone this procedure are able to lead a fairly normal life, but there are unfortunately complications that may arise, such as a high susceptibility to fatigue after exercising or otherwise.
Located just below the liver, the gallbladder is an essential organ for storing bile, a yellowish liquid that aids digestion by breaking down fats. In short, the gallbladder stores bile from your liver to your intestines. Although this storage process is useful for digestion, it is not necessarily required to survive. The presence of gallstones, hard deposits of bile in the gallbladder, can cause significant pain and often lead to the complete surgical removal of the organ itself. Despite many living without a gallbladder, the body is unable to store sufficient bile which can lead to problems.
Toxic waste is flushed out of the body with the help of urine, which is naturally stored in the bladder before it is flushed out. Despite the importance of the bladder, after careful removal, patients can undergo an “urostomy,” which redirects the urine through a medical device. This process has been successful in helping many patients live without a bladder.
While it is possible to live without many organs, there are still inevitable side effects as in the case of almost any surgery. Each organ has a specific purpose, and the removal of any one may be a hindrance in the body's natural processes. For instance, an absence of the eye suppresses vision, its ultimate function. Lisa M.J, an Associate Professor in the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, quotes, “Every organ provides a function for human performance or survival."
Thankfully, researchers and medical professionals have been working hard to develop methods that maximize patient comfort and long-term performance. In the future, the scientific developments surrounding the loss of an organ will definitely continue to improve.