At this point most of us have seen what’s referred to as a “split tongue,” even if only on the internet. But how exactly do you split the human tongue partially in half? Well, there’s actually a few different ways.
First off, depending on where you live, those who have their tongue split may have gone to either a modification artist or a medical professional, or they may have actually done it themselves. Obviously it’s never recommended to perform your own modifications, especially those of a surgical nature, no matter where you live. Moreover, if you’re interested in getting your tongue split, it’s best to call a modification studio in your area and find out what they do, what they don’t do, and what the laws are in your state for surgical mod.
There are a few common ways to split the human tongue. The first, which is very prevalent, is simple cutting. In this method a scalpel is used to slice the tongue down the middle from the front to the frenulum linguae, or “tongue web.” Sometimes the scalpel is heated to create a type of cauterization in an effort to lessen bleeding, but generally the two open edges of the cut are either stitched or sutured closed until the tongue heals. With all methods of tongue splitting there will difficulty speaking and eating during the first weeks after the procedure, but as with most oral piercings the split heals relatively quickly.
Another method of bisecting the front of the tongue is through cauterization. This basically means that either a special type of medical laser or a hand-held cauterizing unit will be employed to burn a portion of the tongue in half. This method nearly eliminates bleeding as the blood vessels are closed off at the edges of the burn. The tongue’s natural tendency however is to try and heal itself back together from the back of the split forward, so multiple burns or cuts may be required to achieve a deeper split.
Finally, there’s the tying method. This method requires a well healed tongue piercing to begin. Essentially a length of sterilized fishing line is passed through the piercing and tied tight. When the tie begins to slice through the tissue, it’s removed and a new tie is slipped through to continue the process. Most persons will go through several ties and take at least two weeks to complete the full split. It is also possible to stretch an existing tongue piercing before beginning the tie off process in order to lessen the amount of tissue that must be sliced through. Stretched or not, if a tongue piercing is properly healed, it can lessen the chances of the tongue split healing forward.
Once the tongue has been split, piercings of one or both sides are possible to achieve an even more interesting look. When both sides of the fork are pierced, it’s often referred to as “viper bites” or “venom bites.” Amazingly enough, the practice of splitting the human tongue made it’s first appearance in western culture less than 20 years ago, in the mid 90s. One of the first recognizable celebrities to sport a split tongue is modified performer Erik Sprague, also known as “The Lizard Man.”