Your stomach… and six other major organs you can survive WITHOUT


WITH more than 600 muscles and approximately 206 bones – there are a ton of parts to the human body that go into keeping a person alive
And organs are at the centre of all this action – with each one having a specific purpose that allow us to perform many of life’s basic functions 8
Despite this, there are some organs that the body is perfectly capable of carrying on without
And thousands of people worldwide have or are currently living without organs that were once considered vital – due to a combination of evolution and medical advancements
Here Adam Taylor, Director of the Clinical Anatomy Learning Centre at Lancaster University, writes for The Conversation about which organs can be considered as “non-vital” 8 1 The spleen
This organ sits on the left side of the abdomen, towards the back under the ribs
It is most commonly removed as a result of injury
Because it sits close the ribs, it is vulnerable to abdominal trauma

8 The stomach (top) can be removed due to cancer or trauma.

Surgeons can bypass the stomach and connecting your food pipe to the intestines Credit: Getty – Contributor
It is enclosed by a tissue paper-like capsule, which easily tears, allowing blood to leak from the damaged spleen
If not diagnosed and treated, it will result in death
When you look inside the spleen, it has two notable colours
A dark red colour and small pockets of white These link to the functions
The red is involved in storing and recycling red blood cells, while the white is linked to storage of white cells and platelets
When the stomach is removed, surgeons attach the oesophagus (gullet) directly to the small intestines With a good recovery, people can eat a normal diet alongside vitamins Adam Taylor lecturer in anatomy, Lancaster University
You can comfortably live without a spleen
This is because the liver plays a role in recycling red blood cells and their components
Similarly, other lymphoid tissues in the body help with the immune function of the spleen 2 Your stomach
The stomach performs four main functions: mechanical digestion by contracting to smash up food, chemical digestion by releasing acid to help chemically break up food, and then absorption and secretion
The stomach is sometimes surgically removed as a result of cancer or trauma
In 2012, a British woman had to have her stomach removed after ingesting a cocktail that contained liquid nitrogen
When the stomach is removed, surgeons attach the oesophagus (gullet) directly to the small intestines
With a good recovery, people can eat a normal diet alongside vitamin supplements 8 The primary reproductive organs in men are the testes, while in women they are the ovaries In women the womb can also be removed, in an op known as a hysterectomy Credit: Getty – Contributor 3 The reproductive organs
The primary reproductive organs in the male and female are the testes and ovaries, respectively
These structures are paired and people can still have children with only one functioning
The removal of one or both are usually the result of cancer, ovarian cancer for example, or in males, trauma, often as a result of violence, sports or road traffic accidents

In females, the uterus (womb) may also be removed.

This procedure (hysterectomy) stops women from having children and also halts the menstrual cycle in pre-menopausal women
Research suggests that women who have their ovaries removed do not have a reduced life expectancy

Interestingly, in some male populations, removal of both testicles may lead to an increase in life expectancy.

8 The colon, or large intestine, is a six-foot long tube, that reabsorbs water and prepares faeces by compacting waste together Credit: Getty – Contributor 4 The colon or large intestine
The colon is a tube that is about six-feet in length and has four named parts: ascending, transverse, descending and sigmoid
The primary functions are to re-absorb water and prepare faeces by compacting it together
The presence of cancer or other diseases can result in the need to remove some or all of the colon
Most people recover well after this surgery, although they notice a change in bowel habits
A diet of soft foods is initially recommended to aid the healing process

8 The gallbladder sits under the liver, just under the ribs.

It detects fat in food and releases bile into the intestines to help the body digest the fat Credit: Getty – Contributor 5.

Your gallbladder
The gallbladder sits under the liver on the upper-right side of the abdomen, just under the ribs
It stores something called bile
Bile is constantly produced by the liver to help break down fats, but when not needed in digestion, it is stored in the gallbladder
When the intestines detect fats, a hormone is released causing the gallbladder to contract, forcing bile into the intestines to help digest fat
However, excess cholesterol in bile can form gallstones, which can block the tiny pipes that move bile around
When this happens, people may need their gallbladder removed
The surgery is known as a cholecystectomy Every year, about 70,000 people have this procedure in the UK
Many people have gallstones that don’t cause any symptoms, others are not so fortunate
In 2015, an Indian woman had 12,000 gallstones removed – a world record 8 The appendix is often removed when it becomes inflamed, causing appendicitis Credit: Getty – Contributor 6 The appendix
The appendix is a small blind-ended worm-like structure at the junction of the large and the small bowel

Initially thought to be vestigial, it is now believed to be involved in being a “safe-house” for the good bacteria of the bowel, enabling them to repopulate when needed.

Due to the blind-ended nature of the appendix, when intestinal contents enter it, it can be difficult for them to escape and so it becomes inflamed This is called appendicitis
In severe cases, the appendix needs to be surgically removed
A word of warning though: just because you’ve had your appendix out, doesn’t mean it can’t come back and cause you pain again
There are some cases where the stump of the appendix might not be fully removed, and this can become inflamed again, causing “stumpitis”
People who have had their appendix removed notice no difference to their life 8 Most people have two kidneys but you can survive with just one – or even with none, with the aid of dialysis Credit: Getty – Contributor 7 Your kidneys
Most people have two kidneys, but you can survive with just one – or even none (with the aid of dialysis)
The role of the kidneys is to filter the blood to maintain water and electrolyte balance, as well as the acid-base balance
It does this by acting like a sieve, using a variety of processes to hold onto the useful things, such as proteins, cells and nutrients that the body needs
More importantly, it gets rid of many things we don’t need, letting them pass through the sieve to leave the kidneys as urine
There are many reasons people have to have a kidney – or both kidneys – removed: inherited conditions, damage from drugs and alcohol, or even infection Adam Taylor
There are many reasons people have to have a kidney – or both kidneys – removed: inherited conditions, damage from drugs and alcohol, or even infection
If a person has both kidneys fail, they are placed onto dialysis
This comes in two forms: haemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis
The first uses a machine containing dextrose solution to clean the blood, the other uses a special catheter inserted into the abdomen to allow dextrose solution to be passed in and out manually More on organ donation Woman inherits mum’s love of baking after getting her kidney in transplant op SELFLESS ACT Mum gives birth to dying baby so she could donate her organs to save others DAD KNOWS BEST I refused to watch my son die so secretly donated kidney after he banned me GOODBYE KISS Hospital staff form guard of honour for dying girl, 2, about to donate organs TICKING TIME BOMB My baby needs a new heart without it, he will die before he turns two Exclusive Parents save son’s life twice as both donated a kidney — 24 years apart SLIM LIFE LINE I saved my husband’s life after losing 7st so I could donate my kidney Exclusive Dad, 28, who died of brain tumour has saved 5 lives after donating organs CUTTING IT CLOSE Opt-out organ donation reform moves a step closer to becoming law
Both methods draw waste out of the body
If a person is placed on dialysis, their life expectancy depends on many things, including the type of dialysis, sex, other diseases the person may have and their age

Recent research has shown someone placed on dialysis at age 20 can expect to live for 16-18 years, whereas someone in their 60s may only live for five years.