Q:

Can you live without your pancreas?

A:

Quick Answer

It is possible to live without a pancreas, although daily insulin injections and the use of digestive enzymes are necessary. Experts from Cedars-Sinai say pancreatic transplantation is also an option in some patients.

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Full Answer

The pancreas carries out two important functions. One is producing hormones that control a person's blood sugar level. These hormones are called glucagon and insulin. The other function is releasing digestive enzymes to help break down food.

Someone without a pancreas is unable to produce glucagon and insulin. This is why daily insulin injections are necessary. Digestive enzyme supplements are used to replace the enzymes that are normally released by the pancreas.

During a pancreas transplant, a surgeon takes a healthy pancreas from a donor and transplants it into someone who does not have a pancreas or has a damaged pancreas. If the transplant is successful, the patient may be able to avoid taking insulin.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What does the pancreas do?

    A:

    The pancreas is a small organ located behind the stomach in the abdomen and functions as a digestive organ and an endocrine organ. In the digestive system, the pancreas helps break down food. In the endocrine system, the pancreas releases key hormones, such as insulin and glucagon.

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  • Q:

    What is the mass of the pancreas?

    A:

    The size of the pancreas is related to height and weight of individual and vary greatly; an average 6-inch pancreas can range from 41 grams to 174 grams, states SCIRP. Studies quantifying the average sizes of organs found the average weight of the pancreas to be about 87 grams.

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  • Q:

    What organ produces insulin?

    A:

    The pancreas is the organ responsible for producing insulin in the human body. The pancreas is located near the midsection of the body by the stomach.

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  • Q:

    What organ takes care of protein digestion?

    A:

    Proteins are digested in the stomach with the aid of secretions from the pancreas and the gall bladder. Proteins not fully digested in the stomach are digested in the small intestine.

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