There are many luxuries that can be enjoyed in life, a majority of which come at a price, a hefty price. Sometimes that price gets so high that we might describe it as costing an arm and a leg, but how much money is an arm and a leg exactly?
Let’s take a look at how much money you could get by selling your arm and your leg. If you’re in the market for an arm and a leg, I wouldn’t take these prices as accurate, I’m simply doing the maths to see how much they might be worth.
On the Black Market
I can’t say I’m a black market expert. In fact, I know little to nothing about the dark underground marketplace where rumour has it you can buy pretty much anything. From drugs to poached animals, from slaves to what we’re looking at, body parts. From my research, I have found that a hand and forearm can get you a whopping $385, if you’re willing to chuck a shoulder in as well you could bag yourself an extra $500.
$885 for the amount pain and risk of the black market seems like not nearly to me, but most likely people aren’t out there selling their own limbs and would take whatever money they could get. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the price of a leg, but it’s probably along the same price range.
Medical schools are always in need of cadavers for teaching anatomy. These generally cost $3000-$5000 per body, the issue here is your going to need to sell your whole body. Fortunately, many places will sell samples for just body part, but prices of these are hard to come by, so let’s go based on weight.
An arm makes up approximately 5.3% of your total body weight and a leg makes up 17.5%, by this you are selling 22.8% of your body. Therefore, you should get somewhere around $684-1140. This may not be entirely accurate, firstly the act of dissecting a body and making a specimen adds value to the product. Conversely, some body parts are more interesting than others and thus will garner a higher price, arms and legs are not some of these, they’re a lot less interesting than something like the heart or the brain. Let’s assume that these two factors cancel out, we’re still not getting much money for something as important as your arm or your leg.
Your body is made up of a lot of different elements, some of which, like Gold and Rubidium, are worth a lot of money. So how much could you get by selling the elements alone?
The answer, not much at all. Your whole body could get you a huge $160, meaning an arm and a leg would get $36. The reason behind this that these precious elements are far from abundant within your body, in fact, the only element in your body worth any value is potassium, of which you have about $100 worths. The amount of effort alone to split these chemicals up would cost significantly more than you would make, so if you cut off an arm for $36, you’ve been ripped off.
Arms and legs, like the rest of the body, are made up of parts, you’ve got tissue, bones, blood and most importantly bone marrow. Although illegal to sell in the US, you have about $23Million worth of in your body. Of which you have about 40.2g in your arm and 69.1g, at $23,000 per gram this will earn you about $1.6Million. On bone marrow alone you’ve already made more 44000 times more than by cost of elements. Also, maybe for $1.6Million, you might be able to get yourself a nice fancy robotic arm and leg to replace the one you lost.
If you are injured in such a way that you were unable to continue your job, you may be entitled to compensation. Depending on what state you’re from, you can get an average of $153,000 for a leg and $170,000 for an arm, totalling around $323,000. Not too bad, and this way you don’t even have to go through the effort of trying to sell it, in fact, you don’t even have to lose it, but career ending injury is also not a favourable option for most people.
So what have we learnt? Well, next time you hear some say it cost them an arm and a leg, then that could mean anything from $36 to $1.6Million. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t tell me anything about how much a person spent.