Clearly, if Wolverine bleeds on the ground, a new Wolverine doesn't reconstitute himself from the drop. Presumably, if somehow his arm could be severed, that wouldn't happen there, either. If his head were cut off...probably not either.

So it seems that there's a minimum amount of contiguous body mass Wolverine has to have from which he can heal.

Maybe limbs are the limit...are there examples of Wolverine regenerating a lost limb? If so, well, this question. If not, is there anything else in the canon to suggest an answer?

  • In the origins movie, though it is not showed directly, he did appear to regenerate the claws that Sabre-tooth broke off against the rail track. If not, his adamantium claws would not have come out evenly on both hands.
    – HNL
    Commented Mar 4, 2012 at 2:56
  • 2
    He can regrow organs so why should limbs be a problem? Besides, after his skeleton is augmented with adamantium it is probably next to impossible to sever a whole limb.
    – Raphael
    Commented Mar 4, 2012 at 9:50
  • 2
    Yeah, but maybe that's WHY his skeleton is infused with adamantium - he can't regrow limbs. Giving him an unbreakable skeleton covers that one weakness... Commented Mar 5, 2012 at 15:00
  • @Raphael: Why do you say that? Severing a limb doesn't involve breaking any (adamantium) bones. Commented Jun 25, 2013 at 21:35
  • I would say it depends on the joint...the knee joint could be severed without penetrating the adamantium, but not the shoulder, CMIIW. Commented Jun 26, 2013 at 2:18

5 Answers 5


To answer this, we'd need a couple of experiments:

  • Cut him in half and see which half regenerates
  • Cut him into more than two pieces of the same size/weight and see which regenerates
  • Burn him until he stops regenerating

In one comic, he was burned to ashes using Napalm, so even living tissue in pockets in the adamantium would have been cooked, so the last one has been answered. I haven't seen him being cut enough because of his skeleton, though. Shooting his head doesn't kill him, either.

My current stance is that is ability isn't in fact linked to his body - if there is a body left, it will use it as a starting point but he would regenerate from thin air even with the whole body completely destroyed.

But to answer this, we'd need to know whether the authors at Marvel have an idea how Wolverine really works. Maybe they just make things up as the stories unfold and don't bother too much about continuity.

[EDIT] Just found this on YouTube: Wolverine: Five Facts You Didn't Know

Wolverine's healing powers evolved over time. At first, he could just heal simple wounds faster than average. At 1:50, he says: "After being caught in an atomic explosion, Wolverine was capable of regenerating all his tissue and muscle within minutes."

The important part starts around 2:00: "According to the Xavier Protocols, created by Professor X, the only way to truly kill Wolverine is to decapitate him and to keep his head far from his body."

From the Xavier Protocol:

Long range attack, sever the head, and place the head and body far apart.
Note: This assumes Wolverine is without his adamantium skeleton.

I'm not sure why the adamantium plays a role here. If the adamantium was just a coating or replacement of the bone structure, you can easily pull the neck bones apart after removing the tissue: They don't interlock in any way.

But if that was his weak spot, I'd design his backbone to prevent separation.

  • I remember a what if where he's zapped by something powerful and nothing but an adamantium skeleton is left...but of course, the What If's are the opposite of canon. Commented Mar 6, 2012 at 15:24
  • 4
    He was zapped by a Sentinel in "Days of Future Past" and reduced to a metal skeleton. The implication was that he was killed.
    – Kenster
    Commented Mar 19, 2012 at 21:48
  • I have to suppose that you're right, it just may take LONGER to heal a severed limb than, say, a gunshot wound.
    – gobernador
    Commented Apr 1, 2012 at 0:55
  • 3
    "But to answer this, we'd need to know whether the authors at Marvel have an idea how Wolverine really works. Maybe they just make things up as the stories unfold and don't bother too much about continuity." - yes, I strongly agree here. Wolverine has been "edited" by too many, far to many times it seems.
    – Secko
    Commented Nov 9, 2013 at 18:56
  • Wolverine was just fine in the reactor fuel room in Wolverine & Destrutor: Meltdown. Also the russian radioactive general burned his arm to the <adamantium> bone, and it healed just fine. Commented Jul 2, 2015 at 18:03

In the Civil War Marvel event, Wolverine is standing right next to Nitro when he goes off and we see him stripped away down to his Skeleton. He is able to regenerate from this, so presumably the only thing he couldn't regenerate from would be someone removing his Adamantium and then annihilating his entire body.

  • 1
    Was there any explanation after that? After all, wouldn't he need something to grow back FROM? Matter can't just assemble itself into flesh, he would need it to come from somewhere. Commented Mar 6, 2012 at 0:47
  • 18
    Yeah...and if his BRAIN is coming back from nowhere without memory loss or anything, I think we have to abandon any sort of scientific pretense and just call it "magic". Commented Mar 6, 2012 at 1:26
  • @ChrisB.Behrens Maybe that darker red in the eye sockets is melted brain, and it somehow gets recovered from there?
    – Izkata
    Commented Mar 6, 2012 at 3:35
  • 1
    @ChrisB.Behrens According to X-Men: First Class, the brain grows back, but memories don't.
    – HNL
    Commented Mar 6, 2012 at 7:29
  • 2
    @HNL - do you mean X-Men: Wolverine? Commented Mar 6, 2012 at 15:26

In Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk,

Hulk rips Wolverine in half (at the waist).
After he awakens, Wolverine has to crawl to the top of the mountain to retrieve his legs. He does not regenerate during this time.

Later in the same series, Wolverine is

a "head on a platter", and he does not regenerate until later.

  • To retrieve his legs?
    – Kalamane
    Commented Aug 23, 2012 at 18:47
  • @Kalamane I believe so. I only saw this issue once when my cousin showed me, and I can't recall exactly what happened. Commented Aug 23, 2012 at 18:56
  • 5
    @Kalamane: Yes. Hulk rips him in half and throws his legs a mile or so. Worth noting, however, that Ultimate Wolverine isn't the same as normal Wolvie. Two separate continuities.
    – Jeff
    Commented Sep 15, 2012 at 15:07
  • This appears to be how Deadpool has to heal severed limbs as well. Would it be safe to assume that almost all individuals with a healing factor would need heal themselves by reattaching lost limbs?
    – Ellesedil
    Commented Aug 28, 2015 at 17:48
  • @Ellesedil - the original unspoken "rule" about healing factors in Marvel comics was that you could only heal something a normal person could heal, just tons faster. you couldn't re-grow an arm or something, but you could definitely re-attach an arm and heal up the seams. Of course, that went out the window when we started seeing things like Wolvie burned down to a skeleton and coming back.
    – Omegacron
    Commented Aug 28, 2015 at 19:17

Depends on the incarnation, but assuming we're talking about "616" Wolverine, the answer is nothing of Wolverine needs to exist for him to regenerate. How do we know this? Because this has happened in the comics.

Basically it works out that Wolverine can regenerate normally so long as 1 cell of his body exists. If all cells of Wolverine are destroyed he... It's been a few years since I looked into it so I might be wrong on this part, but I think it's that he battles or plays a game with death where if he wins he comes back to life and regens, but if he doesn't win. I don't know because apparently it has never happened.

Wikipedia says the following to correct me on the above paragraph:

Among the more extreme depictions of Wolverine's healing factor include fully healing after being caught near the center of an atomic explosion and the total regeneration of his soft body tissue, within a matter of minutes, after having it incinerated from his skeleton. An explanation is given in a recent mini-series starring Wolverine for the increase of his healing powers. In the series, Wolverine is referred to as an "adaptive self-healer" after undergoing numerous traumatic injuries to test the efficiency of his healing factor. Wolverine has endured so much trauma, and so frequently, that his healing factor has adapted, becoming faster and more efficient to cope with increasing levels of trauma.

Wolverine regenerating from a single drop of blood

This shows Wolverine healing from a single drop of blood due to amping up of his powers... Since that above is true, then the amping seen here could be true of his modern state before his recent depowering, without the need of an amping agent like the crystal.

In Wolverine vol. 3, #57 it is revealed that, when Wolverine is injured so seriously that his body actually dies before his healing factor can repair the damage, he returns to life by fighting with Azrael, the Angel of Death, while trapped in Purgatory, due to Wolverine defeating Azrael in combat in the real world during the First World War. However, after Wolverine's soul was damaged following his resurrection and brainwashing by the Hand, he made a new deal with Azrael to repair the damage that had been done to his soul that negated their previous arrangement, with the result that, the next time Wolverine sustains death-inducing injuries, he will remain dead, and his healing factor has apparently been slightly weakened in the process.

In Ultimate Marvel though Wolverine was killed off by drowning him which means all you have to do to kill that version is keep him from getting oxygen to his blood and he can't regen, or phrased another way, Ultimate Wolverine can recover from anything so long as the cell can get oxygen to fuel the regen.


the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland in the brain SHOULD by all accounts of logic and science, need to be in tact and functional. So as long as that is withstanding, he should be able to regenerate along with a single cell.

  • 5
    since when do comics adhere to all accounts of logic and science?
    – phantom42
    Commented Nov 16, 2015 at 14:10

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