LONDON, AUG. 5 — People who split their tongues in half for a lizard tongue-like forked effect risk health issues and those who do the operation in parts of Britain may be performing an illegal act, surgeons have warned.
The body art, known as tongue splitting, may lead to hemorrhage, nerve damage and adverse reaction to anesthetic, aside from some of the common risks of oral piercings – swelling, infection and difficulties in speaking and eating, according to a recent joint statement by the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) and the faculty of dental surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons.
“No reputable surgeon would undertake this procedure as it carries high risks, both at the time of the procedure and long-term. There are no medical reasons for doing it,” David Ward, president of BAPRAS, said.
The statement also warned of the possible illegality of tongue splitting. Earlier, the Court of Appeal pronounced the act illegal when performed by a body modification practitioner for cosmetic purposes, even with the client’s consent, as it constitutes grievous bodily harm.
Tongue splitting normally begins with tongue piercing, after which multiple methods can be used to split the tongue in half from the pierced point to the tip. The most common practice is to cut it down and stitch the open wounds, while some prefer to cauterize the tongue with laser or use multiple piercings.
“We strongly advise people against undergoing a tongue-splitting procedure,” the statement said.
The legal status of tongue splitting varies from region to region. For instance, the U.S. state of Illinois passed a law in 2003 to ban performing the procedure on another person, unless it is done by someone licensed to practice medicine, while the Australian state of Victoria has made tongue splitting for minors illegal as of 2009. – XINHUA