PLEASE BEWARE OF GRAPHIC NATURE OF THIS VIDEOIn a world filled with millions of people, it’s no wonder a sense of individuality can be hard to come by. For people who aren’t content limiting their passions to common-place piercings and tattooing, other forms of body modification have generated appeal. Recently on the news, the ‘bagel head’ trend made headlines. However, bagel heads are by no means the only nor the most extreme methods of body modification—and definitely not the most dangerous when it comes to health issues.
The side effects of many of the body modification procedures have yet to be determined, but as more and more people strive to stand out in the crowd, the medical complications associated with body modification are sure to come to light.
Extreme body modifications
The practice of using a corset to suck in unwanted belly bulge was generally abandoned after the modern woman gave up wearing ball gowns. The trend, however, seems to have come back in small and not-so-small ways, like with the popular shapewear craze headed up by the product Spanx.
Tightlacing takes shapewear to a new level, bringing back the laced corset in a way that makes women from the 1800s look overweight. With tightlacing, a corset is used to refigure the body so that even without the corset, the shape remains. Women who tightlace often do so from an early age and have a body with permanently compressed and lowered ribs.
According to Dr. Helen Stern, all organs within the corset are affected, even though much of the changes go unnoticed by the women practicing this form of body modification. The diaphragm, for example, is pushed upwards and becomes useless in the process of breathing. The liver can become severely malformed, resulting in what are known as “corset lobes,” stretched sections of liver which protrude down into the abdomen, often requiring surgical removal. Digestion also suffers as the intestines are compressed and the large bowel becomes dislodged.
Developed in the Netherlands, an extraocular implant is essentially a small piece of jewelry implanted into the white of the eye. The cosmetic implant, known under the trade name of JewelEyeTM, was created by the Netherlands Institute for Innovative Ocular Surgery.
According to Sentient Developments, the implant is 3.5mm in size and can be purchased in the shape of a star, heart or ring.
While not many of these procedures have been performed around the world, concerns regarding the medical safety have been voiced by the professional community.
Dr. Christopher Rapuano, a corneal surgeon at Philadelphia’s Wills Eye Hospital, told Listverse, “You can think of it as crazy. I mean this is invasive surgery where you are cutting the surface layer of the eye open to put a little piece of jewelry in. The first time I read about this I said, ‘Oh, my God, who is doing this?”
Infections, though uncommon, can cause blindness, states Randall V. Wong, M.D. He explains that any surgical eye procedure carries with it the risk of infection, and should infection happen, even if it is controlled, damage to the retina is often permanent.
Ever wanted to have the outline of a heart, star, moon, clover, or pumpkin embedded under your skin? Well, now you can with the use of subdermal body implants.
According to Russ Fox Body Art and Modification, subdermal implants are three-dimensional objects placed under the skin for aesthetic reasons. Not only can shapes be placed beneath the skin, some people prefer to have silicone-covered magnets used instead. And for those paranoid about information protection, RFID chips can also be implanted for the purpose of personal data storage.
According to a report from CBS News, common issues related to subdermal implants include infection from the procedure itself, as well as an infection from the foreign object within the body. Individuals with contact allergies should be particularly wary of this form of body modification.
While not a “new” form of body modification, eye tattooing remains one of the most dangerous ways to individualize yourself.
Known as corneal tattooing, eye tattoos originated in the prison setting and have since made their way into the underground world of body modification. The process can be done in the traditional manner with a tattoo needle, or it can be done with a syringe used to inject the dye.
According to a report from the New York Post, there are medical indications for receiving an eye tattoo—such as scarring. The complications to have the procedure done for cosmetic purposes, however, may far outweigh the benefits.
“Cosmetic tattooing of the cornea can be extremely dangerous,” said Dr. Sandra Belmont, a clinical associate professor of ophthalmology at Weill Cornell Medical Center-New York Presbyterian Hospital, in the New York Post report. “Infection, perforation and hemorrhage are among the potential complications.”
As with intraocular implants, the risk of infection may equate to a risk of blindness.
Yes, you did read that right. You might have heard of tongue splitting, but nowadays penis splitting is the latest in body modification trends.
Better known as genital bisection, Cracked.com explains penis splitting can be either partial (length-wise) or total. Remarkably, when done properly, the penis remains functional, though some loss of rigidity can occur.
The risks for this procedure may seem obvious, but according to Bmezine, genital bisection can greatly affect a man’s ability to urinate. Other risks include those which accompany any major surgery, and there is a serious risk of massive bleeding due to the vessels which run through the penis.
What do you think about these body modification trends?
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