It depends who you ask.
Physically our bodies can undergo quite a bit. I once treated a man with stage 4 cancer that had one kidney, one lung, his gallbladder, spleen and half of his intestines removed because his cancer metastasized. I had to ask him several times if the information was accurate when we first met because he looked “normal”. Later, cancer spread to his bones and he had both femur bones (thigh) replaced by titanium. He still looked pretty normal considering how much trauma and disease his body went through. Of course this is an extreme situation, but our bodies are built to heal themselves. The younger and healthier we are, the better the recovery we can except to have.
If you ask a Western Medical doctor if people need their gallbladder, spleen, 2 kidneys, uterus, fallopian tubes for the body to function properly, most likely they would respond no. Ask an acupuncturist the same question and you may be very surprised at the answer.
Can you live without some organs? Of course you can but what are the consequences?
Yes, of course you need your gallbladder. EVEN if it is producing stones, cysts and pain. A better solution to removing the organ is to fix the function. This approach is handled in Western Medicine with medication only. When that is not successful, the organ is removed. Months later a crop of new and unusual health symptoms appear, this is connected to the removal of this organ.
In Chinese Medicine all organs have purpose. The concept of the body is balance. When one thing is removed, something else is off kilter. Each organ has a channel of energy in which the pair works in harmony. Remove the organ and the channel still remains, unsupervised like a little kid. This creates new issues which the body cannot balance itself naturally without assistance.
A better approach is to actually fix the issue instead of organ removal. In addition to unbalancing the body, there is scar tissue, lack of blood flow and possible infection that can occur.
Below is a list of organs that are frequently removed in Western Medicine. I have also listed specific symptoms that accompany that can occur as a result.
Kidney- Dominates all reproduction functions and water metabolism, produces marrow (bones and brain), stimulates hair production, hearing, fluid secretions (urine, semen and vaginal fluids), controls the back/spinal cord.
Related Kidney Issues- low sex drive, infertility, edema, dementia, bone issues (osteoporosis/osteopenia), ringing in the ears, unable to hear, balding and premature graying of the hair, incontinence, impotent/low sperm count, low back pain and low energy.
Gallbladder-As the reservoir for Heat and Dampness in the body, the Gall Bladder is responsible for absorbing excesses from the Liver. Some of the functions of the Liver in Chinese medicine are as follows: “stores” blood, eyesight, dreaming, governs the tendons, nourishes the nails.
Related Gallbladder Issues: nightmares, brittle nails, yellow complexion, weak/tight tendons, headaches/migraines, insufficient lactation of milk, bitter/metallic taste in the mouth, hypochondriac pain, high cholesterol, acid reflux.
Spleen-assimilation of nutrients and maintenance of physical strength. Turns digested food from the stomach into usable nutrients, creates and regulates blood, energy production, warms the hand and feet, controls the muscles and concentration, all digestive functions including bowel movements. (**I’d also like to state the out of all the organs the Spleen in Chinese Medicine bears the least resemblance to its Western Medicine functions**)
Related Spleen Issues: Fatigue and tiredness, easy bruising, varicose veins, bloating, gas, sallow complexion, eating disorders, digestive and bowel movement problems (loose stools/ constipation), insomnia, worry, poor memory and concentration, lack of appetite, muscular atrophy, jaundice, excessive bleeding and heavy menstrual cycles.
Uterus/ Fallopian Related Issues: Scaring, sciatica, lower back pain, low libido, spotting, excessive menopausal symptoms.
Tonsils- considered glands not organs and do not have a channel or median, but is part of the immune system and linked to lung function.
Appendix- considered a part of the large intestine that should be removed if irritation and pain is present.