• My character is male and eighteen years of age. He has no health issues.
  • 'Gold' can be replaced with any type of metal - silver, bronze, steel, iron, it doesn't really matter to me. The ideal type would be one that works.
  • If it matters, the half of the body in question is the left half.

What technology, available or not available, would be needed to perform this, in order to make sure my character does not die of blood loss, heart failure, etc.?

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    $\begingroup$ This would be functionally equivalent to being cut in half down the middle... which is definitely fatal, even without the massive blood-loss. $\endgroup$ May 2 '19 at 21:52
  • $\begingroup$ Well, the heart and such is on that side of the body. So are you asking solid metal or a sort of robotic side? That will drastically change things. Also, is there magic? Because if there isn't magic, modern medicine can't really turn someone solid gold. $\endgroup$
    – A Writer
    May 2 '19 at 21:52
  • $\begingroup$ But there is FOP disease (a real disease) that slowly turns soft tissue to bone... So you could probably experiment with that. $\endgroup$
    – A Writer
    May 2 '19 at 21:53
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    $\begingroup$ Human tissue has a density a little lower than water, about a gram per cubic centimeter. Gold has a density about 20 times that, so a half-gold person would weigh about 10.5 times as much as normal. Even aluminum is about three times as dense as human, far too heavy for wholesale replacement without lots of issues. $\endgroup$
    – Cadence
    May 2 '19 at 22:15
  • $\begingroup$ @Annie Levi. This might help: worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/122395/… although It's sci-fi, but I don't know if that's what you're looking for $\endgroup$ May 2 '19 at 22:16

An human body consists of 55-60% water. It is feasible that you could live with less than that, but this still means that basically all non-water parts would have to be replaced with gold if half the volume has to be gold. This doesn't sound feasible, even if you replace all limbs with pure gold prosthetics (which would be very heavy).

However, given the high density of gold (19.3 times that of water), if you just want to have half the body weight be gold, it might not be that big an issue, as only 2-3% of the body volume would have to be gold, or maybe 4-5% if the overall body mass is higher. Since you only want gold on the left-hand side, maybe 8-10% of the volume of that side would have to be gold. An arm or leg prosthetic with a high content of gold could easily do the trick, or the skin might be replaces or covered with gold mesh and plating. The body would however be severely unbalanced, with the left side being almost three times as heavy as the right side. Overall body mass would be almost twice normal, since 95% of the body would be unchanged.

You mention that other metals could also serve. This doesn't really help. If you want half the body volume to be metal, you have the same issue as in the first paragraph above - all non-water parts would have to be metal. If you want half the body mass to be metal, using a lighter metal means that a higher proportion would have to be metal, with associated health issues, and the imbalance problem would persist (albeit somewhat less severe).


First of all your character better have a good reason for this. This is... a really major procedure, and there would be a high chance of death/rejection no matter how you managed it unless you have Magic (tm) and that's not the point of the question.

Second of all... I'm taking this in a different direction than last answer by doing it not by weight but visually with the left half being golden and shiny. You don't get pure gold, sorry, not possible. Do it piece by piece though in a place with really great cyborgs and you could get really far. If you have artificial limbs, artificial skeleton, actuators instead of muscles and plates instead of skin you could end up fairly metallic. It wouldn't be completely gold because technology requires other things, but it would look that way. Assuming your people can do artificial organs and stuff you just need a really good surgeon. It wouldn't be exactly half because your character probably needs his spine, and a full digestive tract, and genitals, and a complete trachea, and a full mouth, and a full brain, but you could get there visually, and even have a nice little cyborg heart.

Third thing is though: weight. Weight is a really big thing when you're being a human being, and that much gold is really really heavy. That much anything is heavy. Personally as far as metals go, I'd do carbon composites for most of the structural stuff besides computer stuff, and then put gold plated lighter metal on the outside, but if you were devoted then the closest I think you could get to true gold is a gold alloy. Gold-titanium alloy a la Iron Man would work quite well and give that healthful shine you want perfectly.


Define "live"

Your character could survive indefinitely in an intensive care unit after having all the body parts he doesn't actually need replaced by gold prothesis, to the point where half his volume is gold.

He should be full of antibiotics and in a clean room to prevent infections.

Would best fit the mood of a horror story.

Replacement would definitely need to be done as surgeries by very good surgeon teams in a hospital, over weeks or months. And, again, intensive care forever. All involved would need a good reason to participate, and most jurisdictions would need a good reason to allow it.

Parts to replace:

-Arms and legs, as far up as the doctors can manage.

-Bones. Ribs should go. Maybe pieces of the skull. Definitely all teeth. Remember to leave some bone marrow to produce blood.

-Ears and hair would definitely be gold.

-Eyeballs. Who needs eyeballs?

-All sorts of cartilage.

-Genitals and buttocks. Rerouting pee and poo through holes in the torso will probably be more practical than preserving natural openings for them.

-You cannot replace all intestines, but you can preserve a working percentage of them, ending in that hole in the torso, and replace the rest.

-One gold kidney. In a pinch to meet that 50% goal, you could replace both and also depend on dialysis.

-The oesophagus and tongue. They would no longer be needed as a tube could pump pre-digested food directly into the stomach.

-One gold lung. You could survive with only one, an O2 tank could be used to supply additional oxygen if needed.

-Nose. Why would you need a nose? All you’d smell is gold anyway.

-The Appendix. Simply a storage facility for digestive bacteria. Besides, they often only cause problems.

-The Gall Bladder. You can live without one of those too.

  • $\begingroup$ I’ve taken the liberty to add additional parts that could be replaced to your answer. I have tried to stay in line with your own suggestions and keep the theme of the answer. Feel free to edit the changes if it doesn't match the intent of your answer. My suggestions are the ones below the page break. $\endgroup$ May 4 '19 at 12:27
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    $\begingroup$ @Liam those are great! $\endgroup$ May 5 '19 at 5:05

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