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A 28-year-old male asked:

Can u live without your pancreas?

3 doctor answers3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Stevan Cordas
Internal Medicine 57 years experience
No pancreas: Yes but not without a specialist to prescribe what you need to do so. It isn't easy.
Dr. Myron Arlen
Surgical Oncology 64 years experience
Yes: Pancreatic resections removing the entire pancreas are occasionally performed for pancreatic cancer. The organ is not essential except for its endocrine and exocrine function. The islet cells lost produce insulin, that is essential and the exocrine portion of the gland, produce enzymes that are available commercially to help in digestion. Most can then lead a normal life.
Dr. David Krulak
Family Medicine 23 years experience
Not easy: It is possible to live without a pancreas, however, it requires a lot of medication and is associated with increased illness and death. One study found that 1/3 of participants died within the first three years of their pancreatectomy. Some of these deaths were cancer related, so likely the odds are better for a non-malignant cause.

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A 43-year-old member asked:

Can it be possible for you to live without a pancreas?

2 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Jeffrey Ramkaransingh
Interventional Radiology 20 years experience
Yes: It is possible to live without a pancreas. Patients without a pancreas require life-long insulin shots, because the insulin-producing Islet cells are gone. This diabetes is often very difficult to manage. Also, these people need pancreatic enzyme supplements to help digest certain foods.
A 29-year-old member asked:

Can a person live without a pancreas?

3 doctor answers9 doctors weighed in
Dr. Danny Proffitt
Family Medicine 43 years experience
Yes: Many people have had to have the pancrease (pancrelipase) removed. This causes many health issues. First, there is diabetes due to this being the organ secreting insulin. This can be replaced. Next, is the absence of pancreatic digestive enzymes. Artifical pancreatic enzymes can be taken. Diarrhea is often the problem. None of this is optimum but sometimes the only alternative to keeping it.
A 44-year-old member asked:

For what length of time can a person live without their pancreas?

1 doctor answer1 doctor weighed in
Dr. David Sneid
Endocrinology 41 years experience
Hours: To days. They would develop severe diabetes and also malnutrition very, very rapidly - which would be fatal if not treated properly.

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Last updated Jul 22, 2014

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