I remember hearing about the tallest person ever, as well as the medical issues he faced. Painful joints, numbness of the lower extremities, heart issues, the general stuff that affects freakishly tall people. Now with that being said, could futuristic bionic body parts allow these people to live as long as any other person?

To start, we will address the bionics we have at our disposal. All of the bionics we need are superior in strength, speed, and durability compared to normal human limbs and have no drawbacks (other than a power source, which will either be hand-waved away by saying that these are extremely efficient and uses the body's own electricity from nerve impulses and such, or we just have to eat more) Obviously these wouldn't need any blood to survive like normal flesh, so blood does not need to flow into or through them (unless the bionic replacement involves blood, an example being a bionic heart). We can replace all of one's limbs, including the shoulders for arms, and up to the hips for legs. We can also replace the heart and lungs with bionic ones as well. What we cannot replace is the brain (obviously), arteries, veins, capillaries, nerves, intestines, kidneys, and liver.

So, with that being said, could these bionics let someone who is potentially more than 8 feet tall live a long and healthy life? This question isn't about the limits of bionics, but rather, the limits of what we can't replace. At a certain point, wouldn't the pressure inside the veins and arteries be so high they just burst, the pressure on the spine so great it just buckles, and there be so much volume compared to surface area that the person just overheats because they can't properly regulate temperature?

EDIT: when I talk about what "We" have, I mean we in this context or situation, not like what we have currently with modern day tech. Also, the bionics are total replacements to normal body parts, IE a bionic heart is a completely inorganic device, there are no remnants of the biological heart remaining.

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    $\begingroup$ Obviously, with bionics, everyone can live normally. At a certain point, a tall person becomes a robot with a brain inside. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 28, 2022 at 5:11
  • $\begingroup$ Well, with a certain amount of bionics. However, there are some things that we cannot replace in this situation. I want to know if those things would fail if we fixed the issues preventing tall people from living normally. 8-10 feet is a good starting point for height in this question. An example of this question is would your blood vessels burst from the pressure needed to pump it around, or your nerves get crushed under your own weight. If we could replace everything in this situation, then yes you are correct. $\endgroup$
    – Chuck
    Commented Mar 28, 2022 at 5:27
  • $\begingroup$ A useful bit of background reading might be the circulatory system of the giraffe, evolutionary adaptations to allow them to walk around with their brains getting a constant blood-supply, without them constantly bleeding from their lower legs - and to bend down and drink water without their heads exploding. (Another in greater detail). $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 28, 2022 at 8:19

2 Answers 2


No. Not Really as Written

As written, your proposal won't help a freakishly tall person live any differently than she would without the implants. At best, the implants might help with some symptoms, like joint issues. But the underlying problems remain unresolved.

If you're referring to Robert Wadlow, he had a hypertrophic pituitary gland with excess growth hormone production. Basically, he just kept on growing. This leads to some problems with your proposal itself.

According to the article, there was no indication that he'd ever stopped growing during his short life. This would mean that he would literally have to have to surgically remove and replace all those joints every year or to to keep up. Until it's decided to try and whack his pituitary gland and end the growth cycle.

We can replace all of one's limbs, including the shoulders for arms, and up to the hips for legs. We can also replace the heart and lungs with bionic ones as well. What we cannot replace is the brain (obviously), arteries, veins, capillaries, nerves, intestines, kidneys, and liver.

Just for your own awareness: we can't replace "limbs" but of course can do joints. Heart can be replaced; lungs not quite yet. Brain can't be replaced, correct. Arteries and veins can be replaced. Capillaries can theoretically be replaced, it's just that they're so small and fiddly that we don't bother.

Artificial kidneys, liver and intestines are well on the way. We'll see them probably in a few years.

Conclusion: We have to understand that Wadlow lived in the 1920s & 30s. Diseases and conditions that were death sentences then, people live with now for decades.

A super tall person now can live quite normally without advanced prosthetics. The current tallest person, according to the Font of All Knowledge, is Sultan Koesan. Sure, he walks with a stick, but has already doubled Wadlow's lifespan and has benefitted from modern medications and techniques for pituitary whackage. His leg problems are not specified, but it is possible that he might benefit from your "bionics".

  • $\begingroup$ I think i should clarify here, I kinda said this weird in my original post. These bionics in question, its not really advanced medical instruments that we have currently. I meant more of amputating a limb or removing an organ and replacing it with a fully robotic and non-organic one. Think rimworld or cyberpunk. When I say what "we" have, i meant "we" in this scenario with this technology. $\endgroup$
    – Chuck
    Commented Mar 28, 2022 at 16:50
  • $\begingroup$ @Chuck -- Those would be a good clarifications to make! $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Commented Mar 29, 2022 at 0:18

Yes. Maybe.

Bionics are able to accomplish astonishing things even today, with the caveat that they're extremely expensive. Assuming that absolutely anything is on the table, joint and limb strengthening, circulatory system reinforcement, and a healthy dose of skin strengthening should get the job done. First, we need strong bones and muscles to withstand the forces that the human frame was not meant to bear:

Bones and Joints

These are a no brainer. Bionics aren't even really the right word for what we want to accomplish here, simply replacing natural joints with artificial ones (which we have the technology for today) would go a very long way. With the proper investment, I can't see why these couldn't be considerably stronger than natural bones and joints by using titanium reinforcement much like we use today for devastating bone injuries.


Now, bionically controlled muscle is something we already have today. Using wire mesh in the blood vessels just outside the brain and some time to adjust, amputees have been able to directly control (and feel!) mechanical limbs. However, once we start putting those mechanical actuators inside someone is when we start to run into some near-future sci-fi. The fact of the matter is that moving mechanical parts inside of a squishy organic body is a delicate operation, to say the least. The technology exists in its most preliminary state, but it's not far enough along for anyone but an expert in the field to say.

The Circulatory System

The heart, of course, will need to be strengthened, or replaced altogether. At current technology levels, total artificial hearts are entirely doable (The first FDA approved hospital discharge was in 1990!). This one would of course be larger, but I'm assuming cost isn't an issue anyways.

Where the larger difficulties come in are pressure. As @Evening in Gethsemane So kindly pointed out, Giraffes are actually an excellent example of how these issues could be addressed. Primarily, with valves and compression. Like giraffes, your bionic individual will need valves in major blood vessels to maintain appropriate pressure in all parts of the body so that they don't have a brain hemorrhage when they lie down, or have their kidneys wear down from constant pressure changes just to name a few. However, this still leaves the problem of very high pressure in the legs which -- surprise surprise -- biology has already solved. Compression socks! Simply wearing compression socks 24/7 is not an option. Some kind of subdermal weave would need to be implanted in order to ensure that your giant always has appropriate counter-pressure in the tissues of the leg to counter the high blood pressure. This is of course not something that I can find any evidence of development on, so... your bionic skin weave would be a thing of near-future science fiction.


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