Microdermal implants

When I started piercing (now too long ago to specify) the state of the art was poor. Few people had anything besides their ears pierced, with a few nostrils thrown in for variety. The IDEA of piercing a nipple, or, heaven forbid, something else was completely foreign to most.

The rise of the Punk Rock movement (remember the safety pins and widespread dermatitis from the nickel reactions) created a split between the "I want that" and the "Why would anybody do that" groups without any hope of common ground or acceptance.

As technology was brought to bear, we realized the importance of proper materials, effective techniques, and rational aftercare. The invention of the captive bead ring, and of the barbell, gave us jewelry which looked good and was easy to place. With increased popularity, public acceptance developed, and demand for variety created new jewelry types, and, indeed, new piercings.

Recently, the idea of a single entry point for implanted jewelry has gained popularity. Those of us who have seen the errors as well as the successes of new techniques as they developed have awaited the outcome of this trend before giving it our endorsement. Good thing too! The initial 'Dermal Anchors' were horrid things, with a requirement for cutting to remove if something went wrong, or if the wearer wished to have them removed.

The newer 'Microdermals' have advanced considerably. Microdermals have a high success rate, with few problems. It is interesting that the highest success rates are from piercers who espouse the 'basically leave it alone' philosophy of aftercare that Blackstar has been promoting for the past 10 years.

Microdermals are semi-permanent. They are easily removed by a piercer if necessary, yet have the stability to remain in place and problem free for long periods of time. Permanent? Who knows as they have only been around for 3 years or so.

The jewelry is more advanced, and more expensive that usual piercing jewelry, and titanium is the material of choice. The techniques require skill on the part of the piercer which most do not have. Clean field techniques are only a starting point. The piercer MUST be able to support a full aseptic technique, as the jewelry is implanted in a pocket. Trapping bacteria in the pocket would be disastrous. The work must be performed quickly, before the body's natural inflammatory response causes a swelling which will hinder the jewelry insertion. This is not work for an untrained piercer.

Comments

But why? Moods change as you suggest and therefore one's taste in jewelery. An implant cannot be changed whereas an external piece can be changed frequently. Where does one locate microdermals and what is their 'impact' on other observers? I have seen some on the forearm and simply wonder why aside from the novelty effect? Argue your case. Oh and I do not see many examples in the galleries.

We have the technology at BlackStar to insert microdermals. We have not marketed them until we saw how the piercings would do, and understood the longer term aspects of aftercare. Microdermals are NOT permanent in the sense they cannot be removed. They can be quite easily. The changing of jewelry is restricted to the changing of the head piece, and requires specialized tools, and two hands.

There is a high chance of loss in tissues which are mobile, like the skin of the arm, around the lips etc. Risk of loss decreases as the skin is less active in day to day living. I actually like the look of microdermals. Much more visually appealing than a labret stud for something like a Monroe, and they do not have the level of trauma associated with surface piercings using a staple barbell.

Piercing is no longer a novelty. I see it as a mature industry, which is just now beginning to have some standardization of practices. The shock value isn't there any more. I am hoping that as practices are better understood, training beyond apprenticeship, and licensing will be required, just like is now required for hairdressing etc. A client will be able to choose a studio with more confidence in the knowledge skill and understanding of a trained and licensed piercer. Ah, I digress ....

Personally, I have always considered piercings to be in two classes. Decorative, in which case I argue that less is more, and an unobtrusive accent piece that subtly accentuates a feature is best. Or Functional, in which case the type, size and placement of the piercings becomes a bio-engineering project, and the piercings should be functional without interfering with normal activities. Anything else, just tell me where to put it, and I will make sure that the piercing has the highest chance of success possible, but I prefer piercings done with a conscious effort to plan the result. I am also reluctant to present something which is untried, or to endorse something that I have no experience with. Many clients have come into the shop with dermal anchors and microdermals, and we have been carefully observing the results. I can say without hesitation, avoid dermal anchors. The microdermals are the way to go.

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