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What is tongue splitting, is it legal in the UK and what are the risks?

WHETHER you like the look or not, tongue splitting is one of the most popular forms of body modification.

Here’s everything you need to know about those lizard-like tongues and the risk the procedure poses…

Getty – Contributor

Tongue splitting results in a lizard-like effect

What is tongue splitting?

One of the more drastic forms of body modification, tongue splitting involves slicing the tongue in two to create a forked effect.

Tongue splitting is popular among body modification enthusiasts who purposefully alter human anatomy for aesthetic or sexual value.

A forked tongue supposedly increases sensation while kissing and some people find they can control the individual forked sides with practice.

Usually conducted by a plastic surgeon or body modification practitioner (although some people have opted to conduct the procedure themselves), a tongue splitting can be achieved using a scalpel or a laser which burns the tongue in half.

 Some people can control the different ends of the tongue

BodModz/Youtube

Some people can control the different ends of the tongue

Is it legal in the UK?

Although still subject to debate, tongue splitting was found illegal by the Court of Appeal in March this year when the cosmetic procedure is performed by a body modification practitioner.

According to Royal College of Surgeons of England, the Faculty of Dental Surgery (FDS) has “seen some horrific consequences of these procedures” which can result in severe loss of blood, nerve damage and difficulty breathing.

 As it is becoming harder to legally have the procedure in the UK, some are choosing to pierce the tongue multiple times to achieve the same effect

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As it is becoming harder to legally have the procedure in the UK, some are choosing to pierce the tongue multiple times to achieve the same effect

However, while this ruling applies to England and Wales, the legal status across the UK is still ambiguous.

Tongue splitting can still be legally achieved using multiple piercings, for instance.

Selina Master of FDS said there is an “urgent need” for the law to be strengthened and enforced across the UK.

What are the risks?

Along with the immediate risk of blood loss, tongue splitting can also lead to infection and nerve damage.

Others with the cosmetic forked tongue have experienced trouble swallowing while it can also lead to tooth fractures and gum damage.

 Tongue splitting is a popular form of body modification

BodModz/Youtube

Tongue splitting is a popular form of body modification

Especially if the forked tongue has been achieved using multiple piercings which have also been known to cause mouth lesions.

While the FDS “strong advise” people do not have the cosmetic procedure, if they do go through with it then “it is crucial they see their dentist on a regular basis so that the impact on their oral health can be closely monitored.”

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