Regenerating from cuts is fairly easy, because it just needs to create new cells, tissues, etc., until the opening is closed. But what about broken bones? Maybe new bone cells/tissues/etc. are created, but the bone would need to be exactly at the right position, or else the bone would be out of place and possibly turning the person unable to use its member without troubles.

Maybe the problem would also be the speed. If it could take minutes, it would be possible to immobilize the member so that the bone is regenerated correctly, but in seconds there's just not enough time for that.

So what would really happen with a broken bone in a body that regenerates itself in seconds?

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ If you're going to tag this [science-based] you should include an explanation as to how these regenerative powers are supposed to work. $\endgroup$ Jul 16 '16 at 6:19
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ That's going to take an awful lot of energy and because of that, probably give off an awful lot of heat. Try to keep your arm from setting on fire while the bone sets itself. $\endgroup$
    – Molag Bal
    Jul 16 '16 at 6:21
  • $\begingroup$ @ApproachingDarknessFish I thought you would assume it, but it works the same way as natural regeneration, but incredibly fast. $\endgroup$
    – Yuuza
    Jul 16 '16 at 9:07
  • $\begingroup$ I can't tell if you're trying to have us explain how your super power works or how it would actually work IRL - you need to explain the mechanism with which the regeneration works, otherwise this question will be (and remain) too broad to answer. $\endgroup$
    – Aify
    Jul 16 '16 at 17:09
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate: If accelerated natural healing were to occur... $\endgroup$
    – Frostfyre
    Jul 16 '16 at 22:19

Any set of forces capable of regenerating tissue damage and broken bones in seconds should be equally capable of resetting broken bones before the regenerative healing kicks. Since we're talking super-powers there might be a delay mechanism that halts bone regeneration until they are in the proper position. That way there is no likelihood of deformed.

If regeneration results in deformed bones, there is an unpleasant and easy answer. Place the bones in the correct position, break them again without changing their alignment and let regeneration take its course. Ouch!

The energetics of regeneration are a worry. It take a lot of energy out of the person to repair wounds and broken bones. Plus the area around the wound and broken bones could become very hot. If the person has super-powers, then they should be capable of surviving and/or enduring elevated temperatures. Otherwise they will need to regeneration themselves where parts of their bodies have been cooked.

When someone with broken bones was undergoing regeneration this would be accompanied by the sound of grinding as their bones moved back into position and knitted themselves back together. Also, it should hurt like Hell.

  • $\begingroup$ Regarding the energy problems you said, what if the energy for such regeneration does not come from the person's own body, but from an outer energy source, would the same problems occur? And such energy have to be of the same type? $\endgroup$
    – Yuuza
    Jul 17 '16 at 4:23
  • $\begingroup$ Good question. An external energy source wouldn't deplete the person's own energy reserves. Assuming this is a normal physical and biological process, the energy expenditure should produce heating in the regenerated area. Also, there might be a mechanism to get rid of excess heat, say, as steam. Don't stand too close. If regeneration was done by teleportation in millions of micro-steps to reassemble the damage into healthy flesh and bones, then heating might not be a problem. $\endgroup$
    – a4android
    Jul 17 '16 at 4:41
  • $\begingroup$ So the heat would be caused by the energy consumption from whatever the source, instead of the regeneration itself, right? Or would be both? Or is it the conversion from energy to cells? $\endgroup$
    – Yuuza
    Jul 17 '16 at 4:58
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Both. Using energy makes heat, it's simple thermodynamics. if regeneration was done by teleporting tissues back together at the subatomic level, this could happen to cells and bones too. Plus pushing them together. Excess hear could be removed by teleporting away infrared photons, this cools atoms, and now there's no heating in the regenerated area. Your characters don't need to know how their super-powers work, just that they do. Knowing might be useful though. Don't worry about heating. It's only a minor side-effect. $\endgroup$
    – a4android
    Jul 17 '16 at 5:23

If healing is in seconds, it won't be possible for bones to get into correct position. Extend the time to a minute or so, then you have two options: First method is fairly straightforward, muscles moves the bone pieces together into correct positions The second method is similar to healing ability of Jessica Jones, she is aware of if her bones could mend the wrong way, and acts accordingly. I think this adds to the realism and opens up story opportunity.


If the bones are in the wrong position when they heal they will remain deformed, unless the healing power also has a function that tries to reform the original state of the body by dismantling the part of the bone that is out of place and creating more bone where it should be (note that that is a simplification because bones are not a single block of material).

If you shorten the time to milli- or microseconds the bone wouldn't even have time to get displaced before it heals (unless the impact is very very strong, but we're talking about projectiles traveling at a significant fraction of c here).

  • $\begingroup$ One possible example would be healing through nanobots in your system, who have a schematic of your body and who know your bones need to be straight. $\endgroup$
    – Falc
    Jul 16 '16 at 8:25
  • $\begingroup$ yeah, it the healing method can destroy and generate tissue at will instead of relying on methods similar to those used by the body it can just maintain the form the body was in when the power was activated. This could also provide immortality from aging, although an exemption would have to be made for the brain and parts of some organs (like the interior of the stomach) $\endgroup$
    – Annonymus
    Jul 16 '16 at 8:29

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.