Splitting up your tongue is an oral body modification that involves splitting it in half. In most cases, it is done around the tip of the tongue, or occasionally toward the middle of the tongue to give the tongue a “forked” appearance. The reasons for wanting to split your tongue are different for everyone. There are many reasons why someone might want a certain look–for aesthetic reasons, to perform oral sex acts, to be able to realize their self-identity, and so on. Modifying the body in this way is a highly specialized, very delicate, and extremely dangerous procedure.
If this procedure isn’t performed by someone who is experienced, nerves and muscles in the tongue can easily be damaged. You are very likely to develop possibly fatal complications from a tongue split, including bleeding and infection. Never attempt to perform this procedure yourself. There are so many dangers associated with tongue splitting that even the American Dental Association (ADA) warns people against it. To ensure the highest quality of results, make sure the procedure is performed by a reputable professional with extensive experience.
In this article, we would discuss more about Tongue Splitting in detail and look at what all does it got. Thus take a read ahead and make sure to consult your doctor before you dive right into it.
What is it?
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The tongue split is a type of cosmetic surgery commonly performed by body modification enthusiasts, who make deliberate changes in their anatomy or appearance. It involves cutting your tongue in half to create a snake-like, forked appearance.
The Tongue Splitting Procedure
This procedure is typically performed by cosmetic surgeons and body modifiers. It can be achieved using several different methods.
The most common procedure uses a scalpel to sever the tongue’s middle and stitch up the open wounds, but some surgeons prefer to cauterize the tongue using a laser.
You should have a professional oral surgeon or plastic surgeon split your tongue. If you attempt to clean your tongue yourself at home, you can drastically increase your risk of infection or irreversible damage to your tongue.
Splitting a tongue is a multifaceted process. Here are some of the most common methods:
You surgeon will divide your tongue with a scalpel by following these steps:
- The heat from a scalpel will help seal the wound more quickly and prevent excess blood loss.
- Your surgeon will cut a line from the end of your tongue back towards your throat until you are comfortable with the procedure.
- After that, they’ll stitch together the tongue’s sides that have been cut.
The following steps can be followed to cut your tongue using cauterization, either with argon laser or a cautery tool:
- To prevent bleeding, the surgeon will direct the heated beam of the laser or other tool along the area you want to split, essentially burning through the tongue tissues and sealing blood vessels.
- The stitching of the tongue ends when any areas that were not sealed by the heat are stitched together.
Tie-off or fishing line
The most common way to split your tongue is with a pair of scissors, however, it should not be done without professional supervision.
In most cases, people who do this start out by piercing their tongues in the location of the split’s back end.
In simple terms, the professional threads a line or twine through the piercing hole, making a tie very tight on the tongue tip and starting with loose knots to put pressure on the tongue, gradually piercing it over time.
Cost of Tongue Splitting
This varies greatly depending on where you have it done and how experienced the service providers are. This procedure costs approximately $1,500 to $2,500 on average.
Pain Involved in Tongue Splitting
Trying to split your tongue on your own or with someone inexperienced can cause a lot of pain.
In terms of pain on a scale of 1 to 10, getting your tongue split – and the recovery afterward – is about 7 to 9.
As well as your pain tolerance, the outcome also depends on whether or not pain medications are used after the procedure. You need about two weeks for your tongue to heal fully, and eventually, you will be able to tolerate the pain. Your pain may be more intense when you use your tongue frequently during the day, such as when you eat, talk, or eat.. In time, once the surgical site has healed, the stitches have fallen out, and you’re used to moving your tongue in new ways, the pain will begin to ease up.
Pain during the tongue splitting procedure
Tying off your tongue or using fishing lines can cause significant pain, and could make it impossible for you to eat, as well. It might take months for the tongue split to complete, depending on the patient’s tolerance of pain.
Body modification practitioners or surgeons use local anesthesia on the tongue before using a scalpel, laser, or cautery tool. Even though it alleviates pain during the procedure, it wears off soon thereafter.
Pain during the healing period
Approximately one to two weeks after the tongue splitting procedure is complete, the wound will fully heal. The pain or discomfort might be worsened by everyday activities such as eating, drinking, and even talking.
The pain associated with tongue bifurcation and how to ease it
If you want to protect the tongue from further irritation, it’s a good idea to avoid spicy, sour, and solid foods while it heals. You should instead opt for soft foods such as ice cream, yogurt, gelatin, broth, scrambled eggs, applesauce, or mashed fruits or vegetables. In other words, follow the same kind of diet that your dentist would recommend following tooth extraction.
As well as cold drinks and foods, anti-inflammatory medications over the counter may offer relief. Don’t forget to speak with your healthcare provider before starting any new medication.
What Might Go Wrong During a Tongue Bifurcation?
In addition to the potential for the following disadvantages of tongue splitting::
- Heavy bleeding
Hemorrhaging and even substantial blood loss may occur due to the large blood vessels in the tongue.
- Nerve damage
During tongue surgery, it is possible to damage some nerves within the tongue, resulting in permanent impairment of eating, tasting, swallowing, and speaking.
- Allergic reactions to anesthesia
Some people become adversely affected by local anesthetics. An allergic reaction can produce mild to severe symptoms, including rashes, hives, swelling of the throat, difficulty breathing, and even seizures, comas, and cardiac arrests.
Risks of Tongue Splitting
There are many risks associated with tongue splitting. While some of these side effects may occur during or immediately after the procedure, others may not be noticeable until long afterward.
The following list of risks is related to the actual procedure:
- heavy bleeding
- blood infection from surgical tools
- damage to nerves or muscles in the tongue
- damage to tooth surfaces from surgical tools
- endocarditis, or heart infection
Occasionally, after a procedure that wasn’t performed by a professional or didn’t heal well, there are risks. These risks include::
- continuous bleeding
- discharge from the split area
- tongue infection
- gum infection, often caused by infection of the surgical site
- gums recession
- permanent scarring on the tongue
- development of thick, bumpy scar tissue on the tongue
- death of tongue tissue
In addition to healing your tongue, you may experience some irreversible long-term side effects, including:
- higher risk of mouth infections
- producing more saliva than before
- changes in breathing
- airway blockage
- loss of sensation or ability to taste certain flavors
- loss of total control of tongue movement
- lesions on the roof of your mouth
Following tongue splitting recovery, there may be several medical complications.
- Gum infection
- Continuous bleeding
- Wound site infection
- Excessive scarring on the tongue
- Gum recession
- Necrosis of tongue tissues
- Long-term issues with eating or speaking
- Difficulty maintaining good oral health
- Airway blockage
- Altered tongue placement
- Poor control of tongue movements
- Loss of sensation or taste
Why Do People Do It?
If tongue splitting is done alongside piercings or other body modifications, it can look pretty cool.
In addition to its unique appearance or shock factor, this procedure has many other appeals. Eric Sprague, the Lizardman, is credited with popularizing it. The tongue splitting procedure was among hundreds of body modifications he underwent, including the surgical implant of spines to fit with his lizard persona.
Split tongues can also be attractive from a sexual standpoint. There has been some evidence that a split tongue can open up new types of kissing, and some people have reported performing new types of oral sex.
When to See a Doctor
You need to see your doctor right away if you notice one or more of these symptoms following the procedure:
- heavy bleeding that won’t stop
- parts of the surgical site opening up or stitches falling out
- abnormal pus or discharge oozing from the site
- symptoms of infection in the tongue
- unusual pain or tenderness in your gums or teeth
- tongue healing slowly or not at all
- surgical site getting worse
The Bottom Line
People change their bodies in a variety of ways, including tongue splitting. Although professionals are capable of doing it safely, it can still be dangerous. You should never attempt to perform this procedure by yourself unsupervised, and you should seek emergency medical treatment if any severe symptoms or complications occur. There are several resources available to find a surgeon or business which can split your tongue, including Loftus Plastic Surgery Center and Reddit.