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A common trope in certain circles (like Eastern martial fiction), is someone committing quick suicide by biting his or her tongue. But is this really possible?

The internet turns up millions of pages of speculation, but no Straight Dope. People have been removing the tongues from mammals, and each other, throughout human history. There has to be some scientific data on this somewhere.

Will an untreated, severe, lingual laceration, really result in bleed-out of an otherwise healthy human?

Or will lingual trauma facilitate swallowing the tongue sufficiently to cause asphyxiation?

What does the science say?

PS: I couldn't find a tag for "injury" or "trauma".

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generally untreated and severe laceration of any body part can is at risk of causing death. But according to this book the tongue tends to stop bleeding quickly (books.google.co.uk/…) –  GriffinEvo Feb 19 '13 at 9:31
@rg255: Excellent. This article says that Lingual artery hemorrhage is "life-threatening". Although it's reporting an injury caused by a botched biopsy. It's not at all clear (to me) that a sufficiently similar wound could be caused by a person's own teeth. –  Brock Adams Feb 19 '13 at 9:53
I guess there is an element of "luck" if suicide is the intended outcome - it will likely depend on how hard one bites, how sharp the teeth are, and how many blood vessels one punctures severely (do not try this at home) –  GriffinEvo Feb 19 '13 at 10:21
@rg255, If it depends on hitting the artery with your teeth, it might not be anatomically possible. Hoping for some experts or citations to chime in. –  Brock Adams Feb 19 '13 at 10:41
Looking at the diagrams of tongue blood vessels it looks like the ranine artery runs a long way along the tongue, and if you hit enough other veins and arteries there's no reason to not expect a high enough bleeding rate –  GriffinEvo Feb 19 '13 at 15:03
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