Meet the bagel heads

Young Japanese are having saline injected into their heads, causing grotesque swelling. This is not as a medical procedure - it's a fashion trend. Meet the "bagel heads", and other bodies bizarre.

The bagel head is a body modification method where saline is injected under the skin of the forehead, causing a large visible swelling. For extra drama, an impression is then made in the centre, to give the "bagel" look.

Saline injections aren't new, but they're causing shockwaves right now with this footage of how the trend is big in Japan (not for squeamish viewers):

Dissatisfaction with one’s natural-born body seems to be a universal human gripe. We pluck, dye, tan, bleach, strap and pierce it; we inject it with botox and collagen, we cut and suction out some bits, we add more to other bits.

We’ve all modified our bodies to some small degree. But few people have even imagined bagel heads and these other bizarre excesses:

Eyeball jewelry – implanting a tiny piece of decorative jewelry in the conjunctiva (the thin layer covering the white of the eye).

Elfing – cutting the ears to give them a pointed appearance like an elf.

Genital bisection – splitting the penis (and sometimes the scrotum too) along its length. This still allows for erection, although the two halves may curve into each other.

Horn implants – small pieces of Teflon or silicone are inserted beneath the forehead skin to give appearance of small horns. These can be gradually replaced with increasingly larger pieces as the skin stretches.

Tongue bifurcation – a similar concept to genital bisection, only in this case the tongue is cut along its length from its tip back, to create a "forked" tongue.

Image: Wikimedia commons

For more jaw-dropping examples, see our Body Modification slide show. Have an example of your own you'd like to share? Mail us on and you could be published on Health24.

- Olivia Rose-Innes, Health24, October 2012

Ebrey, P. (2010) Cambridge Illustrated History of China.
Guinness World Records
Henley, Jon (2002). "Doing Lolo justice. The Guardian.
Padaung National Geographic.
Roberts, Fiona. (2011) Unmasked, the tattooed freak who's become Lady Gaga's new best friend. Daily Mail.

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