Q:

Can you survive without a liver?

A:

It is impossible to survive without a liver. Unlike some organs, such as the gallbladder and appendix, which can be removed without causing death, the liver is essential to the human body.

The liver is necessary for life due to some of the functions it performs. These include:

  • Bile production, which helps a person digest and absorb food and gain nutrients
  • Filtration of harmful toxins which would otherwise damage other organs irreparably
  • Allowing blood to clot, preventing fatal internal bleeding
  • Production of essential proteins

The loss of any of these functions is typically fatal, according to Indiana University Health.

Liver tissue is very resilient. While the complete loss of a liver is always terminal, according to the Hepatitis B Foundation, an individual can survive with a liver that is up to 75 percent diseased or removed.

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