An artificial organ is a man-made device that is implanted or integrated into a human — interfacing with living tissue — to replace a natural

organ, for the purpose of duplicating or augmenting a specific function or a group of related functions so the patient may return to a normal life as soon as possible. The replaced function doesn’t necessarily have to be related to life support, but it often is. For example, replacement bones and joints, such as those found in hip replacements, could also be considered artificial organs.[1][2][3]

Implied by this definition is the fact that the device must not be continuously tethered to a stationary power supply or other stationary resources such as filters or chemical processing units. (Periodic rapid recharging of batteries, refilling of chemicals, and/or cleaning/replacing of filters would exclude a device from being called an artificial organ.)[4] Thus a dialysis machine, while a very successful and critically important life support device that completely replaces the duties of a kidney, is not an artificial organ.

Contents  [hide]
1 Purpose
2 Examples 2.1 Artificial limbs
2.2 Bladder
2.3 Brain
2.4 Corpora cavernosa
2.5 Ear
2.6 Eye
2.7 Heart
2.8 Liver
2.9 Lungs
2.10 Ovaries
2.11 Pancreas
2.12 Thymus
2.13 Trachea

3 Enhancement
4 Microchips
5 See also
6 References
7 Further reading
8 External links

Reasons to construct and install an artificial organ, an extremely research-intensive and expensive process initially, which may entail many years of ongoing maintenance services not needed by a natural organ, might include:[1][4][5][6]
providing life support to prevent imminent death while awaiting a transplant (e.g. artificial heart);
dramatically improving the patient’s ability for self care (e.g. artificial limb);
improving the patient’s ability to interact socially (e.g. cochlear implant); or
improving a patient’s quality of life through cosmetic restoration after cancer surgery or an accident.

The use of any artificial organ by humans is almost always preceded by extensive experiments with animals.[7][8] Initial testing in humans is frequently limited to those either already facing death or who have exhausted every other treatment possibility.


Artificial limbs[edit]

Main article: Prosthesis
Brain-Controlled Prosthetic Arm 2.jpg

Artificial arms and legs, or prosthetics, are intended to restore a degree of normal function to amputees. Mechanical devices that allow amputees to walk again or continue to use two hands have probably been in use since ancient times,[9] the most notable one being the simple peg leg. Since then, the development of artificial limbs has progressed rapidly. New plastics and other materials, such as carbon fiber have allowed artificial limbs to become stronger and lighter, limiting the amount of extra energy necessary to operate the limb. Additional materials have allowed artificial limbs to look much more realistic.[10] Prostheses can roughly be categorized as upper- and lower-extremity and can take many shapes and sizes.

New advances in artificial limbs include additional levels of integration with the human body. Electrodes can be placed into nervous tissue, and the body can be trained to control the prosthesis. This technology has been used in both animals and humans.[11] The prosthetic can be controlled by the brain using a direct implant or ipmlant into various muscles.[12]


Main article: Artificial urinary bladder

The two main methods for replacing bladder function involve either redirecting urine flow or replacing the bladder in situ.[13] Standard methods for replacing the bladder involve fashioning a bladder-like pouch from intestinal tissue.[13] An alternative emerging method involves growing a bladder from cells taken from the patient and allowed to grow on a bladder-shaped scaffold.[14]

Hippocampal Prosthesis.jpg

Main article: Neuroprosthetics

Neural prostheses are a series of devices that can substitute a motor, sensory or cognitive modality that might have been damaged as a result of an injury or a disease.

Neurostimulators, including deep brain stimulators, send electrical impulses to the brain in order to treat neurological and movement disorders, including Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, treatment resistant depression, and other conditions such as urinary incontinence. Rather than replacing existing neural networks to restore function, these devices often serve by disrupting the output of existing malfunctioning nerve centers to eliminate symptoms.[15][16][17]

Corpora cavernosa[edit]

To treat erectile dysfunction, both corpora cavernosa can be irreversibly surgically replaced with manually inflatable penile implants. This is a drastic therapeutic surgery meant only for men who suffer from complete impotence who have resisted all other treatment approaches. An implanted pump in the (groin) or (scrotum) can be manipulated by hand to fill these artificial cylinders, normally sized to be direct replacements for the natural corpora cavernosa, from an implanted reservoir in order to achieve an erection.



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