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February 20, 2013

Split Tongue (aka Forking the Tongue, Snake Tongue, etc)

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Splitting the tongue into two halves is a relatively rare type of body modification, though it is becoming more common. Tongue trauma can also result in such tongue bifurcation as well.

There are 3 described basic methods of creating a split tongue. scalpel (cold steel), cautery (electric or laser), and tie-off. Scalpel and cautery methods are performed by a surgeon, but the tie-off method can be performed by anybody.

The tie-off method was developed by 19 year old Dustin Allor in which he took fishing line tied through an existing tongue piercing and looped it over the tongue tip.  Over time, the fishing line is sequentially cinched tightly through the tongue tissue. This slow process (days to months) allows the tongue to heal as it is being split negating the need for stitches or cauterization due to nominal bleeding.

A split tongue can also be reversed, though more painful than creating it.

More can be read about split tongue on Wikipedia.

Needless to say, this procedure is NOT covered by insurance... but reversing it potentially can be covered by insurance.

Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids. Google+ Christopher Chang, MD Bio

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