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How Tongue Splitting Works

        Culture | Body Art

Things to Consider Before Splitting Your Tongue

So if you're going to split your tongue, be responsible about it. Learn how it's done, what risks it might pose and who the best person is to perform the procedure (hint: It's probably not some dude in a van who just happens to have a scalpel lying around).

Consider the long-term physical risks, which generally are said to potentially include loss of taste or sensation, infection and trouble speaking (many people with split tongues develop slight lisps). These risks are generally considered minimal, as long as you leave the job to a licensed medical professional [sources: Loftus; Webdentistry].

You also might be wondering whether having your tongue split is reversible. Even if you're totally committed right now, that whole permanence thing can be a bit overwhelming. So more good news for you: It's totally reversible. In fact, if the exposed flesh isn't closed properly after the split (either with sutures or cauterization), your tongue will just go ahead and remerge on its own [source: Loftus].

But there's a catch: The reversal process is said to be way more painful than the initial procedure. Like, way more. Why is that? Well, it really has to do with what you have to go through to put the two halves back together. Your doctor has to cut off a little bit of the inside edges of each half and then sew them back together [sources: Bonner; Loftus]. So while splitting your tongue may in fact be reversible, it's probably best if you consider it a permanent procedure.

Following that whole permanence idea, you'll want to seek out the opinions and experiences of others who've already had their tongues split. Body modders tend to be a close-knit community and are happy to tell you firsthand what it's like, where to go, how to take care of yourself afterward and whether it's something they would recommend to others.

Finally, consider your long-term personal and professional goals. The world is an increasingly accepting place when it comes to body modification, but not everyone is cool with a forked tongue just yet. The general guideline we'd give is that if splitting your tongue is going to close doors that you'd rather keep open, maybe consider a different mod.

But if after considering all that you're still raring to go, it would probably help to know how splitting your tongue works. So brace yourself: Things are about to get ugly.

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