April 30th, 2011
I received this message from someone with surface anchrs who was concerned about them:
Hi Elayne, I have four microdermal anchors, two in my fingers, and two in my wrists. I have had them for a few months, when I first got them done they were fine, but recently they have had infections (due to my job and all my animals) and I have been taking antibiotics for them. I have just noticed that on my wrist dermals small mounds have been forming, is this a sign of rejection, or just scar tissue? Thanks alot, L.
Without seeing them, I can't necessarily offer an opinion on exactly what is wrong, but I can say that such adornments are bound to be temporary. Surface anchors seldom last for the long-term--especially in such high-trauma areas. Also, such locations are more prone to infection than other spots. I hope that your piercer counseled you about these important facts before agreeing to do the piercings on you.
Did you consult your piercer? Did you visit your doctor for the antibiotics? What did your doctor say? Are you doing saline soaks and making sure there is no build-up of matter under the threaded jewelry end? Here's the aftercare instructions I advocate:
Elayne Angel, Author
The Piercing Bible--The Definitive Guide to Safe Body Piercing
Medical Liaison, Association of Professional Piercers
April 1st, 2011
I received this message:
I have heard that surface piercings, eyebrow, navel, anti eyebrow and some others, have a tendency to reject. I was wondering if there are some ways you could prevent or slow down the rejection process for these piercings? If it does start to reject and you take the jewelry out are there fluctuations in rejection risk( more or less risk) that would possibly result in a different outcome if you had it repierced? And also what are some signs to tell if a piercing is rejecting? Thanks! G.
March 1st, 2011
I received this message through my website:
About five months ago I got my waist pierced. The piercer did not perform the piercing right neither did he use the PTFE in the piercing and it rejected within a matter of weeks and left a really unattractive scar that has slightly faded but is still there.
Three months ago I went to another piercer and I got my belly button pierced & also a surface piercing below my belly button. My piercing did not reject but I still had dark circles around the piercing and ended up taking it out.
attached are pictures of the scars.
October 23rd, 2010
I recently received this email message:
I'm going into the military in a few months, and i want to get my hips pierced before i go. I was wondering if when i took the jewel off, if you could see the post of hip piercings?
My best professional suggestion is sound advice: don't bother to get these piercings.
They're notoriously difficult to heal and frequently people end up with scars rather than healed piercings. Further, you will not be able to safely wear the surface bars (the type of jewelry most commonly used in that area) without some type of threaded ends on the jewelry--discs, gems, or something else. You won't be able to completely hide them, and the physical activity that you'll be required to engage in during basic training will cause nothing but problems.
This one works better in fantasy than reality. Sorry...
February 7th, 2010
I got this message from a Facebook friend:
Back in November I got a micro dermal in my middle finger. I know now that is was a horrible place to get one. I have knocked it on things numerous amounts of times and caught it on clothing also. It would swell up, but after a day it would go back down. Well now it has been having puss coming out of it and the skin where the longer part of the bar is, is red and raised, like a fresh scar, and when a little pressure is on it, it looks like you can slightly see the metal. It's rejecting isn't it? If so, do I just let it reject on it's own or get it cut out? It isn't causing any pain, and the puss doesn't have an odor. Thank you so much! Jennifer
Hi Jennifer, Body art on the hands is notoriously hard to deal with. Unfortunately, it does sound as though it is rejecting. It is best to return to your piercer for an in-person evaluation and probably some assistance in removing it. There should be no necessity to "cut it out" though. Please see your piercer. By the way, the preferred terminology for this type of piercing (from the Association of Professional Piercers) is a "surface anchor." We want to distinguish it from implants and other more serious forms of body modification, because we view them as simply another type of piercing. When we use the terms "microdermal," "dermal anchor," or "microdermal implant," that can cause legislators to think we're doing something more serious than we are. Good luck, Elayne
January 21st, 2009
I struck up this conversation with a gal who made a comment on a post I made about surface piercings. She wrote:
… I'm getting a five point star surface piercing/s on my right hip in a few days :] gotta talk it over with my piercer but should be cool to go :] ...
I asked her:
Has your piercer been clear with you that the surface piercings are unlikely to stay long-term and that you will most probably end up with scarring instead of jewelry there?
Yeah I've been told that before. I knew it wasn't going to be long term/permanent anyways. Does a surface piercing count as one that goes under the skin, with two balls on each end? because I was thinking of doing that instead of where you can only see one ball. Does that make sense? Sorry if I'm confusing you but id like to get more background info before I get it done. thank you
I provided her with some additional information and I hope it will make her decide to take more time figuring out the best course of action:
January 7th, 2009
I received this email from a piercer today:
Loved your article in PAIN magazine this month. It still surprises me how many clients will ask if its ok to heal their piercings with rubbing alcohol or peroxide!! I had one girl ask if it was ok to put liquid bandage over her freshly pierced nipples!! I don't offer surface percings in my studio because I have seen so many pictures of them rejecting but my friend is begging me to do the nape of his neck. Do you have any suggestions for the correct jewelry or tips for that piercing that would give me a better chance with not having it reject?Hi Meghan, Thanks for your email. I'm not big on surface piercings myself, but there is one area that I will routinely do: the nape of the neck! Though if the tissue is not pliable, I decline. If the skin pinches up well, I make a wide piercing (usually over an inch; generally 1 1/4") and insert Tygon tubing. I most commonly use 12 or 10 gauge. There are some tricks to using it. Because the tubing is so flexible, it is kind of like trying to feed cooked spaghetti through a piercing, which obviously wouldn't be easy! So, I insert the tip of a small insertion taper (18 gauge) securely into the lumen of the tubing as far as it will go. This gives me a solid end that makes it easy to do the jewelry transfer. Important note: Tygon tubing is sold by gauge but may not be the exact measurement of your needle of the same size. If the Tygon is marginally larger, you won't get it through the piercing unless you use a needle of the next larger gauge (or half-gauge). To make the tubing into a barbell: depending on the size of the lumen, you can press-fit ornamental ends made for threadless body jewelry by Neometal. The 16 ga ends work great in the 14 gauge tubing.
December 28th, 2008
I received this question in the comments section of one of my posts:
I have a question. For surface piercings, which kind of barbells are suitable?
My reply: On some types of tissue and on certain areas of the body, it won't matter WHAT style of jewelry you use--the body simply won't accept jewelry in all locations. Here is an excerpt from The Piercing Bible about surface piercings: