April 30th, 2013
I received a message from a person whose surface anchor was beginning to reject:
I got a chest microdermal around 9 months ago and the heel/bottom of it is rejecting. I'm getting it removed today and wanted to know what would the proper placement of a chest dermal be? I think I got it to low and all the tissue that was pulling on it was making so that it could not fully sit correctly. I'm just asking about this to see if getting one higher would be better. I also wanted to know if there was another type of piercing I could get there that would achieve the same effect except with better results. I love my dermal so much I'm just sad to say goodbye to it.
Thank you for your time.
I can understand your concern.
Unfortunately, even when everything is done right, surface anchors (the preferred terminology of the Association of Professional Piercers) simply appear to be less of a permanent body modification than traditional body piercings.
They require ongoing care throughout their life span, including regular irrigation to make sure no matter builds up in the channel or under the ornament. And even with this care, sometimes they will tilt and/or surface and reject.
There is no guarantee that repiercing in the area would result in better results. In fact, I think you can expect the same thing to happen again, which would only result in more scar tissue.
Below are some brief excerpts from my book, The Piercing Bible--The Definitive Guide to Safe Body Piercing
January 19th, 2013
I received a message from a piercee who couldn't figure out why her old, established piercings were acting up:
I have several piercings all different ages some for as many as 10 years or more and not had any problems. Recently they have all began to migrate and reject and I don't understand why. Can you tell me why this would happen all of the sudden and at such volume after years of no problems at all?
Are you experiencing some kind of excessive stress right now? That can cause problems with healed piercings. If not, I'd suggest a visit to a doctor for a thorough check up. After a long history of stability, if your piercings are acting up that could indicate a health problem of some sort. Here is some information on how stress can affect you.
Please keep me posted!
She did just that, and contacted me again about three months later:
I emailed you a while ago regarding my migrating piercings. After some observation and doctor visits it was in fact due to high stress levels as you suspected.
August 19th, 2012
I would really love to have your opinion and thoughts on my "future piercings". I have been contemplating a new piercing for quite some time now. I am thinking about getting four Micro Dermal Anchors on my chest. I will enclose a link/image to the exact placement of the dermals at the end of my message. I stumbled across your wonderful website after doing a lot of endless research. I think that it's awesome that you actually take the time to respond to all of us who message you in need of help or wanting questions answered ! Please forgive me as I have a few loaded questions for you ! I also wanted to say that after much investigation there is literally (or almost) next to no one in the state of North Carolina that I would remotely trust to do these piercings. After cross referencing with the Association of Professional Piercers and lots of thought, I have chosen to travel almost six hours to Immaculate Body Piercing of Columbia, SC. To my delight, I have just learned they are also on your list of Piercer Referrals!(Yay!).
I apologize ahead of time for this being so long. Sorry!
January 27th, 2012
I received this message from a gal who was concerned about her surface anchor:
Hi! I had a microdermal piercing today above my cleavage and not 4 hours after having it pierced it fell out into my lap!
Is this normal? i'm scared of it getting infected. Should I go back to the piercing shop tomorrow?
Be great if you could get back :(
They usually last longer than that, but the truth is they aren't a permanent adornment the way regular body piercings can be.
Also, I don't know that I'd trust the piercer who put it in. They didn't bandage it with a wound sealant clear dressing? That is quite common following the procedure.
The fact that your jewelry came out doesn't have anything to do with an increased risk of infection, unless you touched the wound with dirty fingers.
I think you should go back and get your money back, and learn more about them before deciding whether or not to have it replaced (probably with a different piercer).
Elayne Angel, Author
The Piercing Bible--The Definitive Guide to Safe Body Piercing
President, Association of Professional Piercers
December 29th, 2011
I recently had an exchange of correspondence with a piercer who asked some interesting questions:
I have been piercing for 10 years now in a shop where my husband is the awesome tattoo artist. I just want to be yet another one to thank you for all of your tireless dedication to this industry. I just had a quick question about surface piercings done with polytetrafluoroethylene. At first when these surface piercings became the thing to do around here, I would perform them with the traditional bars for hips, clavicals, Madisons-you name it. I stuck them all with bars. Now this new material seems so much better for healing and does not leave the same scars that the bars do. I just wanted to get your opinion on it. Which is better, the polytetrafluoroethylene or the traditional surface bars?
October 5th, 2011
I received a question from someone seeking unusual ornamentation:
Are surface anchor piercings permanent, and can you get them on your feet (top)?
No, unfortunately, even when everything is done right, surface anchors simply appear to be less of a permanent body modification than traditional body piercings.
Further, they require ongoing care throughout their life span, including regular irrigation to make sure no matter builds up in the channel or under the ornament. And even with this care, sometimes they will tilt and/or surface and reject.
On the feet, they are especially unlikely to be successful, even for a short period of time. There is little padding on top of the bone, and the area is subject to excessive trauma. Also, in that region you are at greater risk for infection than other parts of the body because of the proximity of the feet to the dirty ground.
In the event that a surface anchor were to actually heal and stay for longer than I would expect, there's some chance that a small amount of tissue could grow through the holes that are present in the base of most anchors (for the very purpose of helping the anchor remain in place). If that were to happen, it could still be removed by a piercer using ordinary piercing instruments.
May 11th, 2011
I received this message from a reader:
I want to start off by saying I've become completely fascinated by your book! The illustrations are so detailed and any questions I had about piercing and aftercare is all explained in your book :) Even though I wouldn't get some of the piercings from the book, I still love reading about them.
I was wondering if you could answer my question... I just got a microdermal (not sure if that's the correct term) piercing on the back part of my neck a few days ago. It doesn't hurt whatsoever, except for some sensitivity, which I'm ok with. I've applied purified sea salt to the area 3 times a day. The only time I actually touch it is wiggling it a little right after I spray my neck with the sea salt. My main concern is the jewelry piece. When you look at the piece like it's in front of you, it looks flat against my neck. However, when you look at it from the side, the bottom part of the piece is slightly at an angle, like it's popping out a little. The piercer said to try turning it, which I did. If it was still like that she said to come back and she'd turn it for me. I went 3 days after I'd gotten the piercing. She turned it quite a few times and she said it was fine. However, it still looks the same. I don't know if it's my body rejecting the piece, or if it's just swelling from the piercing.
My worry is the angle that it's at. I just want to be sure with the angle that it's at, it won't affect the healing process, or interfere with me being able to change the jewelery in a few months time. If you need a picture of the piercing to have a better idea, just let me know. I trust the piercer with what she said, but only so much. It helps if I hear from another professional person's point of view. Thank you so much for any and all help you can provide with my situation!!!!
May 1st, 2011
I received this message from a woman who was concerned about her piercings:
Hi!! i had a micro dermal on my cheast for about 6 months adn just recently it started to reject so i tried everything to reverse it. I couldnt and it got worse it was really painfull and it looked horriable do i had the piercer that did it remove it. also before i rejected i got both of my nipples pierced. Do you like that had anything to do with it? it was like a week after i had my nipples done that it started to reject. And also the piercer offered to redo another dermal above the previous one. do you think the next one will reject also? thank you!!!! M.
Thanks for your message. There is a chance that the extra "stress" to your body from the nipple piercings caused your surface anchor ("microdermal") to become unsettled and reject.
That said, unfortunately surface anchors tend to be temporary modifications at best. So even if you redid it, and it healed well, it would not be expected to last for more than a few years. This form of body adornment simply isn't as permanent as ordinary body piercings.
Elayne Elayne Angel, Author The Piercing Bible--The Definitive Guide to Safe Body Piercing
Medical Liaison, Association of Professional Piercers