Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Tongue Split, take two! A comprehensive healing guide.

Tongue Split: Take two!
Warning: The following post contains graphic imagery of a tongue split, and the healing process. I've put them after a click through, but do not read any further than my sign off if you'd like to avoid the pictures, thanks!

I know what you’re all thinking, in fact, it’s along a very similar vein to what I’m thinking. How on EARTH was I THIS INSANE to do this to myself again?!
The fact of the matter is that there were a few contributing factors to this decision, my split did what many splits have done in the past & grew back a fair bit. Unfortunately, the scar tissue grew back a little lop sided which made one of my tongues appear longer than the other and also inhibited activity, which was more than a bit of a bummer. So, after consultation with my good friend & skilled body modification artist Hugh Mattay, we decided to resplit my tongue MUCH deeper. This meant splitting right down to the base of my tongue, and putting some heavy sutures in to keep things in place while I’m healing.
Being the cocky little shit that I am, I honestly didn’t think that this time would be “that bad”, because the worst of my last split were all the stitches in the tip of my tongue. Oh how wrong I was. I am keeping a day to day journal, documenting my coping and aftercare so it may be of help or reference for anyone else deciding to go down the same path of deep tongue splits.
It is also worth noting, while it’s not absolutely necessary, getting a course of antibiotics while you’re healing will definitely do you a world of good. Keflex is excellent, I’m on Flopen 500mg currently and it just gives the healing a bit of extra boost.

Day 1, the day of the split.
You will need:
- Paper towel
- Pen and paper to communicate with because NO TALKING.
It makes the pain worse, the less you do, the better you’ll feel. Stick to writing shit down if you absolutely have to, don’t stress yourself out by trying to charade what you want.
- Ibuprofen plus codeine, any anti-inflammatory drug with extra painkiller to help you through the night.
- Travellers neck pillow to elevate that head, keep the drool pouring out your mouth. Don’t try and spit or swallow it, just let it flow like a putrid waterfall, wipe your mouth as you need it with paper towel.
- A plastic bag, tear off one side of the handles to make a little bag bib you can tie behind your neck. Use this to just catch your drool as its pouring out of your mouth, just chuck your paper towel in there too.
- Blankets. Your body will be going into a degree of shock, it’s important to stay warm, teeth chattering on freshly split tongue ain’t good.
- WATER WATER WATER. It’s going to be damn near impossible to get it to go down, but persevere. Holding iced water in your mouth before just letting it out into the sink helps with the swelling. You MUST endeavor to get as much fluids into you as possible.
-Frozen peas. Those things are amazing, they contour to whatever they’re icing and you are really gonna need to ice those glands. ICE THEM!
- Difflam C (anti-inflammatory antiseptic mouthwash) keep it in the fridge & dilute it half and half with water. Swish this through your mouth every hour.
- Saline solution, you know, pure saline for contact lenses (make SURE it’s JUST saline solution without any added nasties that may really hurt you.) Also keep that in the fridge and alternate that with Difflam C washing out your mouth every hour.
- Clean towels. You’re going to drool like crazy when you sleep, it’s best if you have something to drool onto that’s easily washable than pillows. I found folding a towel in half & putting that on my pillows was sufficient insulation against my drooling, just make sure you change it every night because the pong is just not something nice to sleep in!

I’m feeling okay post split, not nearly as traumatised and fucked up as I thought I would be. I am absolutely loaded with as much aftercare products and information that Hugh can pile on me, including a wad of paper towel thicker than my fist to catch my drool.
I am exhausted when I get home, I pass out in a pile of drool on the couch, woken a few hours later by the pain in my mouth. It’s incredible, but unfortunately familiar. Because my split is so deep into my tongue, the first thing I should do is ice my glands under my neck, 20 mins on, 20 mins off. It doesn’t sound like something that would even affect you, but trust me, when your jawline all but disappears because of swollen glands, you realize how much you kinda need them not to be swollen. Swallowing is next level pain, and dang nearly impossible with two cocktail weenies for tongues and golfball sized saliva glands. I actually cried from the frustration of being unable to swallow my water, it kept coming out of my nose. After my initial hissy fit, I figured out a way to get it down. Memorize that motion, you’re going to need it.

Day two: Post split hell.
You will need:
- As above.
- If you’re like me & a total coffee addict, get iced coffees. Not the shit in a bottle, the kind of real fresh coffee with ice cubes. It’s heaven for a swollen tongue. I mean, by all means, drink that shit in the bottle if that’s your jam, but I actually like real coffee ;)
- Liquid breakfasts. I can’t even begin to stress how ESSENTIAL these should be for every person splitting their tongue. They are cold, full of nutrition and make you feel full, all without too much pain imbibing them. I got a pack of Nutrigrain flavor, but there are loads of other options, including soy/vegan.
- ZOOPER DOOPERS. If you’re not familiar with these, they are basically icey poles without popsticks. Bite off a bit at a time and just let it melt in your mouth over your tongue. Very incredibly soothing relief.
- Cold custard. For some reason, it doesn’t suck to slurp things out of a cup. Pour some custard in a mug and get some substantial feeling sustenance.

I woke up in utter agony. My glands hate me. My body hates me. I’m questioning why I did this to myself again. The stress of healing that is being put on my body is exhausting and I literally slept the day away, waking up to take painkillers and wash my mouth out. It’s the best thing you can do, intake fluids and be clean when you’re awake, but just rest rest rest in a warm dark place. That’s all I managed that day. Couldn’t even close my mouth, just had to lie there with drool pouring out of me, I was miserable.

Day three: You’re coming to the top of the hill
You will need:
- As above.
- I ventured into lukewarm food territory. Stuff like super plain and bland cup of soups like Cream of Mushroom are amazing, leave them to get to room temperature and sip it down. Make sure you wash your mouth out, the last thing you wanna have is bits of freezedried mushroom going all funny in your mouth.

Swallowing has become less of a trial, I’m less afraid of getting fluids into me, taking painkillers has become easier, as has imbibing liquid foods. I’m told this is the pointy end of feeling rotten, and I hope Hugh’s right, I’m proper over drooling into a bag!
By now, my tongue has this putrid white film over the tastebuds. That’s just tastebuds dying off & lymph, but because my tongue isn’t moving or being exfoliated by food, it’s just sitting there all gross like. Don’t worry, it’s not anything bad for you, it’s just stinky!

Day Four: The wind at your back.
You will need:
- As above.
- I managed to eat some lukewarm pasta, but do not attempt this if you don’t feel you can. It’s not worth stressing your body out over!

I noticed that I am actually able to close my mouth now! My teeth can even touch without hurting my tongues! Yay! So I thought it would be a good time to try eating some barely warm mac and cheese, a noodle at a time, not even chewing, just swallowing them whole. Having some icy water on hand really helped with whatever couldn’t get swallowed & washed it all down. I feel so full and sated, it’s the first real solid  food I’ve eaten in days and always gets me feeling a bit better about life, the universe and everything. In fact, I’ve been well enough to get on my laptop and write all of this out! Keeping my glands iced and on top of taking painkillers, it’s been a lot easier to get fluids into me which is making me feel a whole lot better. Water is so important anyway, doubly so when you’re healing!

Day Five & Six: You’re getting there.
You will need:
- As above
- Giving more substantial foods a try is easier as the days pass.
Even if you don’t chew the individual pasta noodles, but swallow them whole. Just make sure they’re cool enough that you can hold one on your wrist or lips without feeling too much heat; the last thing you want to do is give your poor sensitive mouth a burn while its trying to heal.

By this time, my tongue is starting to feel way better, but it’s where the stitches are that are causing me the most grief. As anyone who has had stitches will know and remember, when the stitches start to get to the point of being achey and almost itchy and there’s nothing you can do about it until they come out, so you just have to hold fast.
I managed to drink some nice warm coffee & even some nice chamomile tea (which is really good for the soreness and swelling of the tongue) which is a nice change to all the icey drinks I have been downing recently. Be on top of fluid intake and be sure to get at least two litres into your body a day, while it is healing it is your cleansing organs that are most stressed, especially with all the painkillers that will be in your system, so make sure they are kept good and flushed out, it will make you feel a lot better.

Day Seven: First of the stitches out!
You will need:
- A nice icy beverage after they come out to combat the tiny miniscule amount of swelling that can occur.

The seventh day is a day of celebration! This is when I took the first of my stitches out, the ones more at the front of the split. I chose to leave the ones at the base of the split, the anchoring stitches, in for a few more days to absolutely guarantee a good deep heal on my split.
Now that the first of the stitches are out, its baby steps to solid food again! The base stitches are still sore, and they will aggravate your glands if you bite off more than you can chew (literally and figuratively!) so try to stick to softer foods like pasta and puddings while you’re still trying to get coordinated with your tongue. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day and your tongue has been out of action for a week and now has a massive division down the middle, it IS going to take a little bit to get recombobulated and get the hang of chewing/eating with a tongue split. Don’t push yourself, and keep your fluids high and often, especially if you’re waiting a few more days for the stitches to come out.

Day Ten: The last of the suffering.
You will need:
- A self-congratulatory pat on the back. Well done! You survived recreationally cutting your tongue in half!
The last of the stitches out, I felt on top of the world. I ate some chips with relative ease, my tongue still felt a bit disoriented but it’s getting its bearings back together slowly. I can’t tell you how good it felt to have the last of those little stitchy bastards out of my mouth!

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the pain and discomfort isn’t exactly over yet. The reason I had my tongue resplit was not only because I wanted it deeper, but because I didn’t look after my first one well enough and had quite a lot of regrowth. This is something that can be avoided with a technique called tongue training, and I’m afraid it isn’t pretty.
Essentially, grasp a tongue in each hand with a clean piece of gauze, and pull your tongue as far out of your head as you can manage. Pull it apart as far as you can bear, twist them over the top of each other, clap them together, make them walk, make them flippin’ tap dance, just make sure you’re moving that talky muscle and that you’re doing it vigorously.  Here, I even filmed a quick lil example of the glamorous practice:

This will prevent, as best it can, regrowth of the tissue and the tongue healing back together. No, it’s not the most fun ever, but you wanna know whats even less fun? Resplitting your tongue because you didn’t do this in the first place and ended up with heaps of regrowth.
Be sure to give your poor ol’ mouth a good rinse with Difflam C after each training session and try to aim to do it morning and night, preferably after a nice warm cup of tea (chamomile or peppermint is best) so the muscles are nice and relaxed and elastic. Do this for as long as you can, two/three weeks should have your split talky muscle in ship shape. Then you can relax and revel in your new reptilian awesomeness. Go you good thing!

If you have any questions or queries that weren’t covered in this presentation, please feel free to ask me & I’ll do my best to help you out!

P.S Stay tuned for another how-to guide on looking after your hard mod stitches!
Some images of my new split!
Freshly done!

A couple hours laters, uh oh!

I was so miserable! Blood drool for days!

The befores and afters of my tongue split. Note the correction of the healed together web & also, my scalpelled philtrum and new septum piercing, which I had done all in the same month, like a total lunatic!


  1. You're so brave to put yourself through that, I could never do it.

  2. Thank you so much for putting this up :) it will be so helpful when I get mine done (eventually)as now I know what to expect :)

  3. Thank you for this! You tongue looks amazing! I'm getting mine done on the 3rd of June. It'll be nowhere near as deep (I have a short tongue) but seeing this made me less nervous.

  4. I would really like to know where you got your tongue split

  5. I'm 3 days into my split and would be in some serious agony at night so I came across this and everything you have said is exactly accurate to what I have experienced/am experiencing.

    Just got mine done in NYC and the first 3 days are easily the worst. All I can really eat is soup and yogurt, Slurpees and Popsicles feel amazing but try to stay away from stuff loaded in sugar. Can't stress how important it is to stay hydrated.

    I found myself doing exsctly what you had mentioned, you won't want to do anything for a while besides just laying in a dark warn spot, not really sleep but waking up from your naps just to take more meds or to stay hydrated. Lotsvm of cold water. Anti inflammatory meds and prescription stregth pain killers help a great deal.

    Holy hell I didn't think Ice would be my friend. It helped ALOT to keep pain levels low cuz the coldness would almost numb the pain. It also did a great deal in keeping swelling to a minimum and def help soothes the glands in my throat.

    Learning how to swallow sucked. The first day I was a drool monster and after that, while I would be napping I would keep my head all the way back on a pillow, letting my drool or whatever I ate or drank just slide to the back of my throat and eventually making its way down slowly. I agree this was the most frustrating part but you develop a routine quick.

    Music helped a great deal while laying there. Helps take tour mind off the pain and makes time move a little quicker instead of sitting there being aware of every second your in pain.

    Alcohol free Mouthwash after everything that isn't water and atleast 4 times a day. Pulling your tongue apart every few hours sucked but the pain of healing the first few days and the pain of pulling it apart are two diff levels of pain and I know personally I never want to experience that again, so I'm taking all appropriate action to keep regrowth minimum.

    Stitches sucked but it will help give a cleaner looking split and a faster healing process so I def recommend leaving the stitches in at least a week, especially the ones towards the back as those are the ones that help combat regrowth the most. Can't wait to get then out.

    Def a top notch aftercare/review, I can vouch for this as I am currrntly going through this now and everything you said has been exaxt to my unique experience. Thank you so much for posting this.

  6. Thank you for this! I've wanted to split my tongue for over a decade and I'm finally getting it done this weekend!! :) Thank you for the tips. I'm curious though, how soon did you start the tongue training?

  7. I have gauged my tongue to an inch. I want to cut it myself. Are stitches absolutely necessary? I heard I'd be fin if I just bandaged it in the middle to prevent regrowth.

  8. I have gauged my tongue to an inch. I want to cut it from the inside of the inch hole I made to the tip. Are stitches absolutely necessary? I heard I'd be fine if I bandaged it good to prevent regrowth.

  9. Thanks for the info. I'm currently on day 3 of my tongue split & am very drooly & uncomfortable... I'll get there.

  10. Hey your guide was very helpful. :)
    I got my tongue split a week ago and will get all the stitches out tomorrow.
    I can't stick my tongue out as far as I used to before the split and also I can reach my palate (?sorry im not very good at english >.<) only with the tips of my tongue. Will I be able to reach as far behind and out as before?
    I have a very deep split because my tonuge is very long :D but I can only make the front split itself without using hands. Can you seperate them all the way?
    Does it need more practice or am I just unlucky?

  11. Should I do the tongue training after the stitches get taken out?

  12. I had my tongue split 5 days ago, I'm doing reaaaally well, not much pain and I am still drooling/ swelling, when should I start doing the tongue training? I still have 6 stitches left.

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  14. Wow that's pretty crazy, how fat ur tongue was after getting it done.