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You'd Be Surprised Which Organs You Can Live Without

It’s common knowledge that us humans tend to have some spare parts we can live without. Whether you got your tonsils removed when you were in fourth grade or have an uncle that swears he made a mint selling one of his kidneys, we know that we can operate with a few missing pieces. But what about the other organs? What about the kind of A-list organs that get all the attention and words like “vital” attached to them? Here’s what you need to know about the organs you can live without.

You Can Totally Live Without Your Heart

Back in 2014, a man in Ypsilanti, Michigan had his heart removed; the man, Stan Larkin, was waiting for a heart transplant. For the next 555 days, Larkin lived with an artificial heart in his chest, pumping blood to all of his other organs until he could get a more traditional transplant. During this time, he carried with him a nondescript backpack that, unbeknownst to those passing by, held a power source for his artificial heart. Not only did the robo-heart keep him alive until he got his transplant, it kept him in good enough health that it significantly reduced complications and recovery time.

People Are Born Without Brains

In 2007, an Indianapolis girl was born without the majority of her brain. Her condition, called hydranencephaly, is an incredibly rare disorder where one is born without a cerebral cortex and little more than a functioning brain stem. While doctors initially told the girl’s parents not to expect her to live, she went on to survive for more than six years with the help of life support.

No Bones Required

Like many children born with rare and serious conditions, Janelly Martinez-Amador was only given a few days to live by her doctors. She was born without bones and, as such, not expected to survive; her condition, hypophosphatasia, meant that she had no skull to keep the pressure off of her brain, no ribs to give her lungs room to expand, and no bones anywhere else to be found. Her family, however, decided to undergo a clinical trial for a new enzyme that would promote bone growth. After six years, not only was she proud owner of a skeleton but was beginning dance lessons.

Cows Have Four Stomachs, But Some People Have None

It is entirely possible to have some, if not all, of your stomach removed. While it is generally only done in extreme cases — for example, in particularly severe cases of stomach cancer — a patient can have their stomach removed. In such cases, the small intestine is surgically attached directly to the esophagus, allowing the person to continue eating small meals. To make up for lack of nutrients, the patient will also likely be put on vitamin supplements.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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