February 28, 2013 by
Here at BizarreMedical.com we talk a lot about weird diseases, a little bit about common diseases, and a little bit about the medical industry – both current and in bygone times. One area we’ve stayed away from so far is body modification. One reason is that people are sensitive about their bodies – both the things that happen to their bodies that they can’t control, and the things they choose to do to their bodies.
So without judgment at all, I submit the body modification practice known as “pocketing.” It’s also called an “art implant,” a “3-D implant,” and the more technical “subdermal implant.” Instead of piercing something on the outside and attaching body jewelry to it, this process involved inserting the jewelry under the skin so that the outline of it shows through the skin. Almost like a body-jewelry-shaped growth or appendage. Regard:
photo by PRIMITIVECHILE body piercing y body modificacion
Wikipedia tells us that there are subdermal implants, like you see above, and transdermal implants, which would be implants that have something that sticks out of the skin. So imagine the photo above, but with part of the inner implant showing. The picture below shows this kind of implant – look at the guy’s forehead.
picture from wikipedia
Procedurally, the guy or gal who does this to you should be pretty skilled. And everything should be STERILE. Sheesh. The chance for infection is pretty severe, and it’s also (albeit remotely) possible that your body will reject the implant. They basically have to cut into you, hold your skin out with something called a dermal separator, and stick something under there and sew you back up.
Some people go WAY beyond a simple subdermal or transdermal implant and go all out. There’s Stalking Cat, who has been implanted and tattooed to look like a cat. Born Dennis Avner, Stalking Cat has subdermal implants along his forehead, and on the bridge of his nose to make his face catlike. He also has transdermal implants on the cheeks next to his nose to allow for whisker-type piercings. Check him out.
Another guy, Erik Sprague, calls himself The Lizardman. and he’s made himself up to look like a (guess?) lizard. He performs all over the place, eating fire and swallowing swords and stuff. An ex Ph.D. candidate, he now lives in Austin, Texas and does performance art full time. He’s appeared in the Jim Rose Circus, Todd Robins Carnival Knowledge, and more, and has toured and performed with bands like Godsmack, Hatebreed, and Slayer, to name a few. Check him out.
There are others who have decided to turn their whole body into works of art. There’s Katzen (the Cat Lady), The Enigma, Stelarc, and the infamous Fakir Musafar. What makes someone decide to do permanent and painful modification to their body?
One school of thought is that the people suffer from body dysmorphic disorder. This can manifest as an eating disorder, a preoccupation with extensive plastic surgery (think Michael Jackson or Jocelyn Wildenstein), or a desire to completely change your outward appearance. Body dysmorphic disorder’s symptoms include “obsessive and compulsive behaviors related to perceived appearance defects” and (according to wikipedia’s sources) “any kind of body modification that may change one’s appearance.”
On the opposite side, the Church of Body Modification would disagree. They “honor all forms of body modification and those who choose to practice body modification for any reason. “ They say that they “believe our bodies belong only to ourselves are are a whole and integrated entity: mind, body, and soul. We maintain we have the right to alter them for spiritual or other reasons.”
Additionally, the COBM also states that they don’t hold it against people who choose NOT to practice body modification. That’s a lot more tolerance than non-body modifiers likely give to The Lizardman.