Body modification (or body alteration) is the deliberate altering of the human anatomy or human physical appearance. It is often done for aesthetics, sexual enhancement, rites of passage, religious beliefs, to display group membership or affiliation, to create body art, for shock value, and as self-expression, among other reasons. In its broadest definition it includes plastic surgery, socially acceptable decoration (e.g., common ear piercing in many societies), and religious rites of passage (e.g., circumcision in a number of cultures), as well as the modern primitive movement.
Extreme body modification: Devotees say tattoos, piercings, and skin implants, like those seen here, are beautiful - and that the sometimes painful procedures used to create them can be emotionally and even spiritually uplifting. But some medical experts say the "mods" can be dangerous - and in some cases evidence of mental illness. But doctors say sub dermal implants, like the ridges above his eyes, can be risky business. "Hopefully all of this is being done under the most sterile conditions," says Dr. David Bank, director of The Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic, and Laser Surgery in New York. Anytime the skin is opened up, he tells CBS News, there is the potential for infection - and the risk is heightened when a permanent foreign object is introduced.