WILMINGTON -- Scarification is a procedure similar to tattooing, but much more damaging to the skin and potentially dangerous. It started as an African tribal ritual. An image gets cut into the skin with a scalpel. When the wound heals the scar stays, leaving a permanent design. Scarification may not be new, but it wasn't until recently that it started leaving more of a mark in our area. Walker, as he's known, has not only had scarification done, but is one of the only body piercers in the area to perform it. Walker said, "You can actually practice on fruit, oranges, grapefruits." He says the procedure is safe and none of his clients have ever had complications from the procedure. "If you know what you're doing you're not in any risk," Walker said. Tattoo artist Justin Lanasa said, "I would not allow any of my guys to even think about doing it, because there are so many risks involved." Like most other tattoo artists and body piercers in the area, Lanasa refuses to do scarification. "I think it's more of a medical procedure," he said. The county health department regulates who can perform scarification. Right now the only requirements are that the scarification artist takes sterilization and blood born pathogen classes. But doctors say there are serious health risks. Physician Samuel Armitage said, "Scarification of course gives the opportunity for bacteria pathogens to enter the body, and gives the opportunity for certain structures to be cut which should not be cut."
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