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What You Should Know about Tongue Splitting - Body Piercing Basic EP129


In the 129th episode of DaVo's Youtube series Body Piercing Basics, he covers the subject of Tongue Splitting and what should be considered beforehand.

Show Notes:

AKA bifurcation, splitting or forking


  • This is an extreme body modification

  • Ideally done by a licensed Oral or plastic surgeon.

  • May, or may not be legal in your area or country

    • The state of Illinois in 2003 made it illegal for anyone without a license to practice medicine to do the procedure.

    • In the USA, it may fall under the definition of practicing medicine without a license. It is illegal in the US to prescribe an injection of an anesthetic.

    • The Australian State of Victoria banned tongue splitting on minors

    • The UK in March of 2018 ruled that tongue splitting by a body modification professional be illegal in England and Wales

  • Due to the rarity and legal questions of the mod, it is often performed in an underground situation. Making it next to impossible to verify the abilities of the person doing it.


  • May grow back together partially or completely.

  • Can damage the nerves and muscles permanently. including impairment of eating, speaking, tasting, and swallowing.

  • Death of tissue

  • Could cause excessive bleeding

  • Swelling could affect eating, drinking, and breathing

  • Infection is always a risk, including a blood infection from tools and/or heart infection

  • Damage to teeth, gums, and tissue in the mouth from the cutting tools.

  • allergic reaction to any anesthetics that are used

Skills & etc… needed:

  • Medical training would be helpful

  • Expert-level knowledge of the anatomy and structure of the human tongue

  • A working knowledge of cross-contamination prevention

  • Using a scalpel and/or an argon laser or cautery tool.

  • sutures skills and experience with stitches

  • Access to sterile equipment and proper biohazard disposal

  • Clean and controlled environment to do the procedure.


there is an increased chance of success if the tongue is pierced.


  1. The anatomy is evaluated and marked.

  2. The scalpel is heated to cut down on bleeding

  3. The scalpel is used to cut a straight line from the tip backward. This can often take 5 to 10 minutes or longer to complete.

  4. Once the cut is completed, the edges of the wound on both sides is stitched shut. This also can take some time.


  • The main difference is that a heated beam of the laser or tool is used to cut through the tissue.

  • Though there is usually not as much bleeding, areas may still need to be stitched shut.

Tie-Off or fishing line

This is the old DIY method of slowly tightening a piece of line through a tongue piercing and the tip of the tongue. Should only be done under the supervision of a professional.

  • Can take an extremely long period of time up to over a year and can be extremely uncomfortable.

  • The tissue may simply grow back together or the tongue piercing will just migrate.

  • You could have an allergic reaction to the mono-filament or other line

  • This could also cause tissue damage that could result in loss of the use of your tongue or a major infection.

The aftermath:

  • 2 weeks or longer for the wounds to heal.

  • Bleeding off and on for the first few days

  • Because there is a great deal more trauma than a tongue piercing, expect much more swelling and the swelling to last much longer.

  • You will need to adjust your diet

  • Your speech will be affected for a few weeks at best and these may be long-term.


Long term effects could include:

    • Higher risk to mouth infections

    • overproduction of saliva

    • effecting breathing

    • airway blockage

    • loss of taste

    • loss of control of your tongue

    • lesions on the roof of your mouth

    • heavy scarring

    • Speech impediment

If you have a question you would like to see covered in a future video, please comment or contact DaVo at

I aka DaVo have been a professional body piercer and the owner of the Axiom Body Piercing Studio in Des Moines, Iowa since 1994. My focus on education and helping clients make safe and informed decisions on getting pierced has always been a large part of my business practices and services. With my website and increasingly on youtube, I hope to expand and inform others outside of my small part of the world. I always encourage questions and comments, so if you have one, please comment.

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All images used as used in the spirit of Fair Uses. If you are the photographer, piercer, or owner of the piercing and would like to be credited, please contact DaVo at

The links below are affiliate links and part of the proceeds will go to DaVo, the Axiom, and Body Piercing & Tattooing Staff.

Suggested Aftercare Products:

  • For Premixed Saline DaVo suggests. NeilMed Neil Cleanse Wound Wash First-Aid Sterile Saline Solution 6 fl oz Each -
  • Band-Aid Brand First Aid Products Tru-Absorb Gauze Sponges for Cleaning Wounds, 4 in x 4 in, 50 ct -

All footage was filmed using a Canon EOS 80D Camera with the Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM Lens - and Canon EOS R  - with Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM Lens -

Audio - Recorded with Shure MV7 - with a Tascam DR-40x -

For more information on DaVo and the Axiom Body Piercing Studio go to

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Contact DaVo at or by phone at 515-262-5989
If you would like to set up a Piercing Appointment go to and click on the "Book Now" button.

Skin Kitchen Tattoo and The Axiom Body Piercing Studio are located at 3800 Douglas Ave./Des Moines, Iowa 50311
Tattoo hours are Thursday - Monday 1-8 pm
Piercing hours are Thursday - Monday 2-8 pm