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An artificial endocrine gland is cultured in the lab and is to be inserted in a person. This gland functions by secreting special substances in the blood stream.

It needs to be placed in a position where it can be well vascularized, protected, and stable (close to a bone?). It must be an anatomically free position where it does not interfere with other organs. As a bonus, it should be easy to access to make the implantation not very invasive.

This organ is spherical, no larger than a pebble.

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    $\begingroup$ A pebble is not a unit of measure, they vary by several orders of magnitude, could you give a better metric. $\endgroup$ – John Jul 25 at 14:48
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    $\begingroup$ Are you kidding? There's plenty of room in there for extra stuff $\endgroup$ – A C Jul 25 at 22:59
  • $\begingroup$ Put it in the back of the skull, at the top of the neck, between the two strings that are there. $\endgroup$ – Yellow Wallop House G Jul 26 at 19:27
  • $\begingroup$ plenty of places for something that small my transplanted kidney (much bigger than a pebble) is above my rhs groin $\endgroup$ – Neuromancer Jul 27 at 18:10
  • $\begingroup$ "Close to a bone" is actually a pretty bad choice. $\endgroup$ – Damon Jul 28 at 12:13
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Art Imitates Life

Lucky for you, the implantation (or rather reimplantation) of endocrine glands is already a thing. During parathyroidectomy, it is common practice to perform autotransplantation of a portion of the hyperactive tissue. This is usually done in the muscle tissue of the neck or forearm.

This is a whopping big parathyroid, much larger than the 3 to 5 mm "pebble" you're likely imagining (Moderator warning: Images contain blood and may be off-putting to some users):

enter image description here

Reimplantation is a simple matter of securing it to the muscle:

enter image description here

And Bob's your bloody uncle:

enter image description here

Muscle is already vascular and the new gland will rapidly grow its own vascular network. This location will not interfere with any other organs and the procedure is minimally invasive. The new gland will be protected by muscle and subcutaneous tissues and the reason why autotransplantation is done in the forearm is precisely for reasons of easy access. Any future access to your endocrine gland can be made under local anaesthesia.

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    $\begingroup$ This would also have the added benefit(or detraction, depending on the situation) of the gland being lost if the arm is cut off. I would imagine that if it was needed for an occupation like Space Marines(as in 40k style) this may become a problem. $\endgroup$ – Dawnfire Jul 26 at 23:58
  • $\begingroup$ @Dawnfire: Put one in each arm (and you might as well do each leg, too), then. $\endgroup$ – Sean Jul 27 at 21:49
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    $\begingroup$ Depending on the metabolic requirements of the gland, this might not be the best idea. The arms, especially the musculature regions, regularly limit their own supply of blood due to excessive pressure. If your gland is happy even if your arm is asleep or during prolonged periods of low blood flow, then this won't be a problem, but it would be far better just to shove it somewhere in the abdomen. $\endgroup$ – forest Jul 28 at 8:18
  • $\begingroup$ Also, will the gland survive you hitting your arm really hard? Many glands are delicate enough that they could be severely injured with an impact that would merely bruise a muscle. $\endgroup$ – forest Jul 28 at 8:19
  • $\begingroup$ @forest --- It seems like this should be addressed as an independent query. You're making specifications beyond those of the OP. That said, parathyroids generally do very well embedded in muscle tissue. If the glands you're proposing for your own scenario wouldn't do well in muscle, then obviously, that won't be the best location. You may actually want to consider placing them in an area where constant blood flow is normal: near the heart, tucked somewhere near the brain. Both of those locations would also protect them from bruising injury. $\endgroup$ – elemtilas Jul 28 at 18:47
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Use it to replace the appendix?

Lots of blood flow, fairly central to the body, reasonably well protected, and doctors have lots of practice accessing that part of the body. By removing the appendix at the same time, you can be sure that you have space to put it in there without interfering with any other organs..

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    $\begingroup$ Didn't think of it, interesting choice. $\endgroup$ – SilverCookies Jul 25 at 13:59
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    $\begingroup$ The appendix is a valuable portion of the digestive system, currently believed to be a significant storehouse of replacement bacteria for the gut. $\endgroup$ – Carl Witthoft Jul 25 at 18:10
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    $\begingroup$ @CarlWitthoft The argument as to whether it is a valuable portion of the digestive system, or just a vestigial holdover, has been going back-and-forth since the mid 1700s. Yes, a couple of papers in 2007-2009 have indicated that it might be a valuable portion of the digestive system - but that's still opinion, and the "popular opinion" might change yet again. (And even the papers that do cite it as "a valuable portion of the digestive system" qualify that with "... in places where modern sanitation is lacking, and diarrhoea is common") $\endgroup$ – Chronocidal Jul 26 at 8:15
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    $\begingroup$ One might argue against it being particularly valuable, as generally people suffer few to no effects from having it removed. - I read somewhere that astronauts have it removed before going to the ISS as it's safer to do so than have it potentially cause problems in space... I don't know if that's fact or fiction though. $\endgroup$ – Baldrickk Jul 26 at 10:54
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    $\begingroup$ @Chronocidal the appendix is part of the immune system. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29503124 $\endgroup$ – RonJohn Jul 27 at 1:55
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I would go somewhere between the liver and the stomach.

  • Stomach has an hollow shape, so it can accommodate for some volume demand from the artificial gland
  • Liver is the body chemical reactor, and is well connected to the blood stream
  • Abdominal cavity is easily accessible
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    $\begingroup$ Yep; placing a relatively small organ deep within the main body cavity is a great way to maximize protection as well as proximity to other organs. $\endgroup$ – Carl Witthoft Jul 25 at 18:11
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    $\begingroup$ "Abdominal cavity is easily accessible" isn't really true - accessing the abdominal cavity is quite invasive, and since it's possible to just put it in the muscle then even laparoscopic surgery to the abdomen is needlessly invasive and carries unnecessary risks. $\endgroup$ – Peteris Jul 26 at 17:21
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Why make it permanent? Put it in an external pack and have temporary connections. Then you can brag about it. Also, you can get the latest version whenever you want. Or adjust the settings as you like.

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ Oh yeah, external vascular access. That could in no way go wrong, be a source of infection, physical trauma, blood clots, haemorrages or villain setup scenes. $\endgroup$ – Starfish Prime Jul 25 at 14:42
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    $\begingroup$ Isn't this essentially what insulin pumps do for diabetics? $\endgroup$ – Nzall Jul 26 at 9:22
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    $\begingroup$ @Nzall yes, but the OP want a protected and stable position, this do insulin pumps not have... And one have to change the "needle" every some days, because it looses its access to the circuite, so vascularized is not fulfilled too. $\endgroup$ – Allerleirauh Jul 26 at 10:11
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This organ is spherical, no larger than a pebble.

You could put it almost anywhere in the abdomen. People's bodies can end up with masses that big and more from all kinds of sources... tumours, fibromas (and other kinds of fibrous gunk), foreign bodies, inadvisably large quantities of food, lipomas... the list goes on. You can have these things for years and never know. People can have grossly enlarged bladders and livers and still survive OK. There's lots of room in there, and most things are stretchy and squishy and moveable to some degree. I'd see about sticking it near the spleen... you might even be able to tuck it under the floating ribs to give it a bit of protection.

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We already put endocrine glands into people.

A nice example is the birth-control-implant. It isn't a sphere but a small stick usually inserted into the biceps.

Having a stick implant is also probably a better idea if you plan to put it into a muscle, as it would sit along the muscle fibers nicely.

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Plug it into the liver. There a nice place between gallbladder and duodenum. People don't notice swelling of liver, fatty liver so something small like a pebble would not be noticeable.

And the implanting can be done with a needle.

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  • $\begingroup$ I don't want to see the needle you can get a pebble through. $\endgroup$ – JCRM Jul 27 at 15:54
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The size of a pebble means it can be practically anywhere - growths like cysts or benign tumors much larger happen in various places of the body without causing trouble. The rest is pretty easy too. Trying to make implantation non-invasive seems like the tightest constraint. Paranasal sinuses are a "free real estate" accessible through the nasal cavity, plenty of blood flow, good connection with the immune system, close to brain, protected well within the skull, a bit exposed to infections and poorly thermoregulated (cold air in winter). Another decent candidate is vicinity of one of submandibular salivary glands, a small incision under the jaw to access, the jaw bone protecting it, extra bonus - the secretions could be mixed with saliva e.g. for external use. Yet another option is impantation in lungs - again, the procedure of implantation would be similar to bronchoscopy, under general anesthesia but through mouth and trachea.

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