Deliberate splitting of tongues by people is very risky, warn surgeons. Splitting refers to cutting of tongue in half for a forked lizard-like effect. Blood loss, nerve damage, swallowing and breathing problems and infection are the primary risk factors. Lip and tongue piercings also put people at risks of gum damage and tooth fractures.
Tongue splitting is a procedure performed by body modification enthusiasts often using plastic surgery. Even if consent has been given by patient, tongue splitting is illegal if done for cosmetic purposes, said Court of Appeal in March. The ruling is applicable for Wales and England. But the Royal College of Surgeons of England and the British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) said that its status was unclear in other parts of UK legally. Use of alternatives for tongue splitting like multiple piercings is also uncertain. Selina Master of the FDS said that being a dentist he sees horrifying consequences of such procedures. She added that the law for the same needs to be clarified across UK soon.
BAPRAS and FDS fear that the demand for tongue splitting may not end but simply be done in secret. Health bodies also warned against high-risk oral modification procedures like lip and tongue piercings. Among the complications that may arise are mouth lesions, infection, gum damage, tooth fractures and excessive swelling leading to difficulties in breathing.
The Royal College of Surgeons said that 1/5th of all lip piercings done on people aged between 16 and 24 result in post-op complications. The same happens for more than half of all tongue piercings for the same age group. Ms. Master advises people to not opt for such procedures as tongue splits or oral piercings. But if done, regular visits to the dentist are highly recommended for maintaining a good oral health. She adds that such procedures should never be tried on oneself or on someone else.