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. After all, people who identify as elves have been around since the 1970s. However, with new plastic surgery technologies, it is gaining in popularity. It is this popularity that sends folks to plastic surgeons to get cosmetic elf ears or sometimes even 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.
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 sharp tools is something that has been widely seen throughout history. Aboriginal people of the Arnheim Land in the Northern Territory of Australia, for example, scar themselves to initiate members for participation in tribal activities, such as trade and ceremonial songs.
Implants, while coming back into vogue in recent years, were common among seafarers 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.
No matter what the reason for the elf ear look, those that take drastic action to look like elves are willing to go through a lot 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 works with the top of the ear and then stitches the open pieces back together to form the coveted pointed elf ear. Some specialists offer different incisions 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.
Luis Padron, from Buenos Aries, Argentina, 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 cosplay when he got older, and he began to bleach his hair and skin to look more mythical.
At 20, he received 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.
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.
A body modification practitioner (who, it should be noted, is not a medical doctor) may charge as little as $600 for modification The body modification route comes with a catch, as they aren't medical doctors and cannot use anesthesia when they engage in this modification procedure. Moreover, while body modification practitioners are regulated businesses, they are not medically licensed. Check the regulations in your region and the rules about what the practitioner can and cannot legally do before going this route.