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The title is my question: what organs are absolutely needed (fatal if injured/removed) by the human body and perhaps animals in general?

I'm not asking which organs are mechanically replaceable, but more what organs cannot be removed (and not replaced) in order to maintain human life.

--update--

To clarify the question, I'm wondering what organs when removed (and applied no medical intervention) would cause fatal effects in a short amount of time, or cause semi-fatal effects (ex. shortened lifespan). A list perhaps of importance, if possible, would be nice.

note: I have no medical knowledge so I'll leave 'short' open to interpretation.

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well.. i think it is only the brain which has no mechanical replacement as of now. –  WYSIWYG Apr 28 '13 at 4:52
    
@WYSIWYG I've updated my question to clarify. I've been reading in wikipedia that ex. removal of the liver, pancreas is potentially fatal - and was wondering what other organs have the same effect. –  dk123 Apr 28 '13 at 4:58
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I think you can rather ask which organs are dispensable. easier to answer –  WYSIWYG Apr 28 '13 at 5:10
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Just to clarify, are we looking for organs that once removed would be fatal without medical intervention? For example the body can be maintained for a long time without kidneys if dialysis is applied. –  Rory M Apr 29 '13 at 10:41
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As the comments are gradually illustrating, I think this question is too vague to really be answered effectively. There are some clear examples of organs that can be removed w/o immediately causing death with varying degrees of medical intervention but you could likely keep any small amount of human tissue alive for weeks in the lab so the answer would be all of them except for that piece* (lots of medical intervention required). –  KennyPeanuts Apr 29 '13 at 18:36

2 Answers 2

You can't remove most organs. The heart, lungs and brain are the ones that without you'll die in seconds. The rest you'll live a few hours or more. All depends how long you wish to live. The best way to see which organs are most required is to look at the order organs are shut down when there isn't enough oxygen or blood. That tells you which area most and least important.

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+1 Do you perhaps know of a link or source of some sort that covers the shut down list you've mentioned? –  dk123 Apr 29 '13 at 9:58

There is a list of "vital organs" on which there is a consensus that if such organs are removed, the body dies within hours/minutes. Yet people can live long with only one lung or one kidney.

Another list could include other organs that are semi-vital: we could live for a relatively long period without them, but their absence has to be compensated with a continuous treatment (pancreas, thyroid, etc.).

In contrast, people can live in "good health" with non-vital organs removed such as legs, eyes, teeth...

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+1 Thanks for the reply and vital organs link, is there perhaps also a source you know that covers the semi-vital organs you've mentioned? –  dk123 Apr 29 '13 at 9:54

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