Altered: the World of Modern Surgical ModificationBy
Piercings, tattoos; that’s all old hat by now, right? But what about permanent structural changes to the human body? With advances constantly occurring in surgical modification, new and interesting mods are becoming more and more extreme. Here’s a look at just some of the procedures that have been perfected, popularized, or incepted in recent years.
The Split Tongue
Once reserved for religious deities and Hindu mystics, tongue splitting hit a major upswing around the year 2000. Late in the 1990s, several performance artists both rising and well known received the procedure, including members of the Modern Primitives movement and oddities acts like Erik Sprague, better known as the “Lizard Man.” Nowadays tongue splitting is popular and widespread, with several available methods to choose from. Often performed with a scalpel, heated cauterizing blade, or multiple sets of sutures, tongue bisection is performed in many areas by both oral surgeons and modification artists.
Although more artists are taking the plunge, ear pointing is still a relatively young modification and new innovations are still being tried and tested on the small amount of individuals who choose to undergo this type of procedure. The desired look (as popularized immensely by the Lord of the Rings film trilogy) is that of naturally pointed ears similar to those seen on elven and other characters. Depending on the degree of point being sought after, there are a few methods of achieving this, mostly involving the trimming of a portion of the ear and some suturing or stitching.
Nasal reshaping is an extremely rare modification in the sense of altering the nose’s appearance to look less human (rather than standard rhinoplasty, which is designed to perfect a decidedly human looking nose). One of the pioneers of this type of mod is Mr. Dennis Avner (also known as Stalking Cat), who had his septum removed in 2001 in order to flatten his nose, causing a more cat-like appearance. More recently, a Columbia native named Cain had large sections of his nostrils and septum removed and subsequent stitching done to create a “demonic” look to his nose, much like the Lord Voldemort character in the Harry Potter series.
Some other modifications that are more common and have grown in popularity in recent years include dental fangs, subdermal horn implants, and permanent makeup.