Body Modification

Body Modification


Are you a fan of body modification? If so, you have certainly come to the right place. We are about  to share some information that you will find fascinating and unbelievable. In our first section, we have included information and pictures of the various types of body modifications seen in adults. The second half will include some examples of children who have actually altered their anatomy.

Body modification (also called body alteration) is defined as the deliberate altering of the human anatomy or physical appearance. Human body alteration didn’t start to gain popularity in the United States until the 1990s. Of course, there are plenty of people who may find it to be pointless and even repulsive to make certain alterations, for some, it is an addiction. Interestingly, it has been around as long as humans have lived. Even nose piercings were mentioned in the Bible.

There are many different reasons why one would choose to make deliberate modifications to their anatomy or physical appearance. It may be for the purpose of sexual gratification, a career in the sideshow business, religious beliefs, self-expression, shock value or for other reasons.

We will first meet a man who is known for his extensive body modification.

Rick Genest: Zombie Boy

zombie boy Rick Genest (also known as Zombie Boy) was born on August 7, 1985. Genest is a Canadian artist, freak show performer, actor and fashion model. He has performed in sideshows and freak shows across Canada. Due to his corpse tattoos that cover most of his body, he is often called Zombie Boy.

Face Tattoos

face tattoos

Face tattoo” by TUERTO is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Above is an picture of a man with facial tattoos. Like Rick Genest, they cover the majority of the face. Of course, there could be many different reasons why someone would choose to tattoo their entire face and sometimes even their neck. However, some people will go just a little too far, and their reason may be ridiculous. For instance, a Russian college graduate by the name of Lesya Toumaniantz actually allowed her boyfriend to tattoo his name on both sides of her face. What is even more unusual is the fact that Toumaniantz had got her tattoo just one day after meeting him after previously communicating over the Internet. The name “Ruslan” now covers most of her face.

Although it may be a challenge for Toumaniantz to find some work, at least the couple is now engaged. Hopefully, the marriage will last a lifetime. Can you imagine your face covered with your ex’s name?

Body Piercing

Luis Antonio Aguero

Luis Antonio Aguero” by MattJP is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Meet Luis Antonio Aguero (above image). This Cuban man is said to have over 230 piercings. He is just one of many people who participate in excessive body piercing. The practice of ear piercing has been going on for over 5,000 years. Some of the oldest mummified remains discovered were found with earrings. Even nose piercing is believed to go way back to 1500 BC. Believe it or not, even nipple and genital piercings were practiced in Ancient Rome and Ancient India cultures.

Body piercing didn’t start becoming popular in the West until after World War II. Its popularity had grown among the gay male subculture. Interestingly, ear piercing for woman didn’t even become acceptable until it started gaining more popularity in the 1960s and 1970s (thanks to the punk movement, which had embraced it). Piercing other areas of the body (such as the eyebrows, navel tongue, nipples and genitals) didn’t become popular in the United States until the 1990s. In 2005, 10,503 people from England over the age of 16 volunteered to participate in a survey. The survey determined that approximately 10% had body piercings that were in areas other than the earlobe.

We wrote about Elaine Davidson in a past article. She is the current world record holder for the “Most Pierced Woman”. According to Guinness World Records, Davidson has a total of 462 body piercings.

Ear Modification And Stretching

ear modification

Modified ear” by Nicor is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Of course, besides just piecing your ears, you can also modify them to look a certain way. For example, many people like to deliberately alter their ears to look like an elf. This practice has become a new fad in the body modification world. Of course, if one is interested in getting some permanent elf ears, they will need to get a surgical operation that is known as ear pointing surgery.


For the purpose of wearing certain types of jewelry, many will participate in a form of body piercing that is called stretching. The process requires deliberate expansion of a healed piercing.

Although ear piercings are the most commonly stretched piercings, of course, they are not the only. Tongue piercings, nasal septum piercings and lip piercings/lip plates are also stretched.

Meet The Woman Who Paid Just Hundreds For Her Elf Ears

Plastic Surgery

large breasts

Chelsea Charms” by Tabercil is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

In 1917, a sailor named Walter Yeo is said to be the first person to receive plastic surgery. Today, the practice of plastic surgery has become a huge billion-dollar business. More people are willing to take serious risks to alter their anatomy and create their desired look. According to statistics by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), in 2012, there were 14.6 million cosmetic plastic surgery procedures performed in the United States alone. Although some plastic surgeries such as a rhinoplasty (a nose job) are very common, some people will take things just a few steps further.

Meet Chelsea Charms (above image). Charms (her stage name) is an American big-bust model, internet model and stripper. Her large breasts have helped get appearances in adult magazines that specialize in large breast models. Due to 3 breast augmentation surgeries, Charms claims her bust size is now 164XXX. In the summer of 2012, she reported each implant weighing 30 pounds.

Charms first augmentation enlarged her breasts to a DD cup, with the second surgery giving her an HH. The third surgery was different than the first two. For the first two procedures, saline bags were used. The third surgery used polypropylene breast implants. These implants cause continuous expansion of the breast after surgery, which explains exactly why Charms breasts grew so large.

Who Holds The World Record For The Largest Natural Breasts In The World?

The Guinness World Record for the “Largest Natural Breasts” belongs to Annie Hawkins-Turner (aka Norma Stitz) of the United States. Her measurements are unbelievable. She has an under breast measurement of 109.22 cm (43 in) with an around chest-over-nipple measurement of 177.8 cm (70 in). She currently wears a US size 52I bra, which by American bra estimation, translates to a 48V bra.

Subdermal Implants

A subdermal implant is a body modification that is placed underneath the skin for the purpose of creating a raised design. The implants come in all shapes and sizes and are made out of silicon. They can either be carved or mold injected. While some implants are performed by doctors and other medical professionals, others are performed by an experienced body modification artist.

The first known subdermal implant was in 1994. The form of body modification is believed to pioneered by a man by the name of Steve Haworth. Mr. Haworth is a body modification artist.
According to the non-theistic religion known as the Church of Body Modification, there are two main types of subdermal implants. This includes subdermal implants and transdermal implants.

What Is The Difference Between Subdermal And Transdermal Implants?

Subdermal implants are completely buried in the skin. Transdermal implants are placed partially under the skin, with the rest exposed. Below is a video of a man getting horns surgically implanted.


Scarification (also called scarification modification and cicatrization) is a method of permanent body modification to create designs, pictures or words into the skin. The scarring is usually more visible on people with darker skin. A scar is formed by either cutting or branding (when a mark is burned into the skin to create a scar) the skin using a variety of different methods. To create a desired design, the process can involve scratching, engraving, burning/branding, or superficial cutting.

Scarification has been used for a variety of reasons. For example, women in many different tribes will have scarring on their abdomen to denote a willingness to be a mother. A woman’s ability to tolerate the pain involved in the process of scarring is actually considered to be an indication of her emotional maturity and readiness to bear children. Interestingly, during the actual process of scarification, endorphins can be released, which can induce a euphoric state. Perhaps, the release of endorphins is considered to be a big bonus for many who choose to engage in the process.

Although scarification does produce harm and trauma to the skin, the main concern for the participant is infection. It is very important that all of the materials used are sanitary. The wound must also be kept clean with the use of antibacterial solutions. If one is interested in this method of permanent modification to the body, it is important to find an experienced scarification worker.

huge scars

South Sudan 036” by Steve Evens is licensed under CC BY 2.0

South Sudan woman with scarification

South Sudan 026” by Steve Evens is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Cranial Deformation

Artificial cranial deformation (also called head flattening or head binding) is defined as an intentional deformation of a human skull. The alteration is achieved by applying force to distort the normal growth of a child’s skull. Interestingly, there are several options for the actual shape of the skull. The shapes can be flat, elongated, rounded or cone-shaped. Typically, due to the fact that an infant skull is more flexible, head binding will begin about a month after birth. The deformation process will usually continue for about two years until the desired shape of the skull has been reached.

The earliest known records for intentional human cranial deformation dates all the way back to 400 BC. It was once a common practice in a large number of cultures. Today, there are only a few places where the practice still occurs. For example, the practice is still taking place in Vanuatu.

Collectors will often try to find genuine elongated skulls because of their rarity. However, authentic elongated skulls are very difficult to find. Luckily, there are some online stores that sell replicas.

Why Would One Intentionally Alter Their Skull?

It is believed that cranial deformation was practiced to signify group affiliation or to demonstrate social status. It is also believed that the practice may have began to take place for the purpose of emulating groups of the population in which an elongated head shape was a natural deformity.

fetus with naturally elongated skulls

A fetus with a naturally elongated skull.

Examples Of Children With Body Modification

Child With Artificial Cranial Deformation

A woman holding a child with obvious artificial cranial deformation.


bound feetFoot-binding (also known as “Lotus feet”) was a Chinese custom of applying painfully tight binding to the feet of young girls. It was done for the purpose of preventing further growth. The process would start before the arch of the foot had the chance to fully develop (usually between ages 4-9).

The practice of foot-binding possibly originated among upper-class court dancers during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. It is believed to have started as early as the 10th century, ending in the 20th century. The Chinese participated in the practice for about a thousand years.

Although the process of foot-binding was exceedingly painful, it was still performed because it was believed to enhance marital prospects by making one more sexually appealing.

a bound foot

A Bound Foot

X-ray of two bound feet

An X-ray of two bound feet.

Neck Rings

child with long neck

Young female of the long neck tribe” by Peter van der Sluijs is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Above is a young girl who is wearing neck rings. Neck rings are a form of stiff jewellery and are found in many different cultures. To create an illusion of an elongated neck (the vertebrae do not actually elongate), the neck rings are worn to push the collarbone and ribs down. The weight of the rings will force the collarbone to twist. An elongated neck is often looked at as a form of beauty.

Stretched Earlobes

a child with stretched earlobes

Mujer Mursi” by Gusjer is licensed under CC BY 2.0

A child who had her ear lobe piercing stretched to fit her jewellery.


Body Modification

The great omi statue” by Paul Stevenson is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Since humans have been roaming the Earth, they have been engaging in a variety of methods to make modifications to their human anatomy or appearance. Perhaps famous human freaks such as The Zebra Man and Zombie Boy have influenced many to engage in the process. It may begin with just one simple modification (such as a nipple or ear piercing) that eventually leads to an addiction. Whether you think body modification is fascinating art, repulsive or even taboo, people from around the world will still continue to make alterations to their bodies for various reasons.

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About Joseph Caltabiano

Joseph Caltabiano is a writer, oddities lover and a former surgical technologist. He left the field of surgical technology to pursue a career in blogging and internet marketing. As clearly shown in his posts, Joseph is very passionate about unusual topics. His two most favorite topics are medical and weird science.