While body modification has been around for thousands of years, there are new trends within the field that continue to push the idea of body-mods and identity within the subculture. One such trend is people who are having elf ear plastic surgery. Elf body modifications are used by both Otherkin and body-mod aficionados alike to make themselves look more like, you guessed, it, elves.
This surgery to look like Legolas from Lord of the Rings or a non-specific elf is not necessarily new - people who identify as elves have been around since the 1970s - but with new plastic surgery technologies, it is gaining popularity. It is this popularity that is sending folks to plastic surgeons to get cosmetic elf ears or to unlicensed body-modification practitioners, which can be dangerous. Thinking about joining the Fellowship of the Ring? Here is everything you need to know about elf ear surgery before you take the plunge.
Cosmetic Elf Ears Are The Most Recent Part Of A Long History Of Body Modification
Historically speaking, body modification is nothing new. Tattooing and piercing have been practiced by cultures for thousands of years. Branding with hot irons or scarring with knives is something that has been widely seen throughout history. Aboriginal People of the Arnheim Land in the Northen Territory, for example, scar themselves with knives to initiate members for participation in tribal activities, such as trade and ceremonial songs.
Implants, while coming back into vogue in recent years, have been common among seamen of the South Pacific and the Japanese Yakuza Elf for hundreds of years. Pearls were often used for implanting, but more recently, many implanters opt for silicon options. Elf ears may be inspired by a more recent interest in fantasy fiction, but they are a part of a long history of people changing their bodies to fit a cultural or spiritual need.
People Go Through Extreme Lengths To Gain Elf Ears
Whether it is because they want to look like the work for Santa Claus or a character from Lord of the Rings, people going under the knife to look like elves are willing to go through a lot of pain and possible infection to gain pointy, elf-like ears. Unlike some piercings or small tattoos, the operation is not reversible and involves seeing a body modification specialist or plastic surgeon. The surgeon slices the top of the ear and then stitches the open pieces back together to form the coveted pointed elf ear. Some specialists offer different cuts to create different styles of elf ears, even going as far as to remove some of the ear lobe to create the perfect elvin ear.
A Man From Argentina Has Spent Over $47,000 On Surgeries To Make Himself Appear More Elf-Like
Luis Padron, from Buenos Ares, Agentina, has always had an affinity for fantasy creatures. In his youth, he would immerse himself in Labyrinth and The Neverending Story to forget about all of the bullying he endured during school. This led to an interest in cosplaying when he got older, and he began to bleach his hair and skin to look more mythical. At 20, he went under the knife for the first of several cosmetic surgeries he would have to make himself more elf-like. Some of the surgeries include pointing his ears, cheek liposuction, full body hair removal, a rhinoplasty, and a $12,000 surgery to give himself an elvish widow's peak for a hairline. Padron refers to himself as "the Plastic Prince" and cosplays pop culture characters along with a slew of different elf personalities.
The Operation Is Not Cheap
For what seems like it should be a relatively simple operation, the elf ear procedure is pretty costly. Plastic surgeons charge anywhere from between $2,500 to $7,000 to do the operation. If going to a plastic surgeon isn't in the budget, there is another route would-be elves can follow. They can go to a body modification practitioner, who is not a medical doctor, and pay as little as $600. The body modification route comes with a catch, as they aren't medical doctors and cannot use anesthesia to dull the pain of having an ear split open and sewn back together.