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Illegal tongue splitting procedures exposed

From BBC - October 8, 2017

Body modification artists have been exposed carrying out illegal and potentially dangerous tongue splitting procedures.

Patients undergo the cosmetic surgery to achieve a lizard-like forked tongue.

Two backstreet practitioners were filmed by BBC London preparing to illegally inject anaesthetic into undercover reporters.

The expos also highlighted a grey area over the procedure's legality, with calls for the government to legislate.

BBC London was tipped off that numerous body modification artists were unlawfully injecting anaesthetics as part of tongue splitting operations.

Roni X, from Poland, who operated out of Divine Canvas in Islington, told an undercover researcher she would use the drug Articaine to control the pain.

Only a registered medical professional such as a doctor or dentist can supply this drug and authorise the dose.

'Shaky and wired'

Roni X explained: "You might feel a pinch, but it's nothing crazy and the stitches will take 15, 20 minutes to do all around.

"The entire procedure lasts up to half an hour."

Samppa von Cyborg, from Finland, also offered his services for 500. He is one of the world's best known body modification artists and claims to have carried out 1,000 tongue splits.

He admitted: "Cutting the tongue in half and putting stitches, there definitely will be some nerve damage."

Of the Articaine he intended to administer, he said: "You just feel really shaky and really wired, that's the only side effect you have."

Neither of the surgeons are medical professionals.

Mr von Cyborg's wife Aneta, who is his assistant, said: "We do not allow videos. Definitely no needle or syringe [in a photograph] because that's the illegal part.

"The needle is so small that you do not feel when it goes in."

The undercover reporters waited until the injections were actually being prepared before pulling out of the operation.

Stephan van Vuuren, principal dentist at Islington Green Dental Practice, said: "The effects of a local anaesthetic could be quite hazardous to a patient.

'Unknown quantities'

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