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Subject: rec.arts.bodyart: Piercing FAQ 7--Healed Piercings

This article was archived around: Tue, 02 May 2000 07:21:02 GMT

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Archive-name: bodyart/piercing-faq/healed-piercings Last-modified: May 01, 2000 Posting-frequency: Quarterly URL: http://www.cs.uu.nl/wais/html/na-dir/bodyart/piercing-faq/.html
Summary: This posting contains information about body piercing. Anyone interested in the subject and/or who wishes to read/post to rec.arts.bodyart should read the Piercing FAQ first. The rec.arts.bodyart Piercing FAQ is divided into 30 parts: 1--Introduction 2A--Jewelry Materials 2B--Jewelry Sizes & Designs 2C--Facial Piercings & Their Suggested Jewelry 2D--Body Piercings & Their Suggested Jewelry 2E--Genital Piercings & Their Suggested Jewelry 3--Getting A New Piercing 4A--Professional Organizations, Piercing Instruction 4B--Professional Piercers - United States - Alabama - California 4C--Professional Piercers - United States - Colorado - Iowa 4D--Professional Piercers - United States - Kansas - Nevada 4E--Professional Piercers - United States - New Hampshire - North Dakota 4F--Professional Piercers - United States - Ohio - Pennsylvania 4G--Professional Piercers - United States - Rhode Island - Wyoming 4H--Professional Piercers - Canada 4I--Professional Piercers - Beyond N. America 4J--Professional Piercers - Beyond N. America Cont'd 5--Care Of New Piercings 6--The Healing Process & Healing Problems 7--Healed Piercings 8--Historical Information 9A--Resource List 9B--Resource List Cont'd 10A--Personal Experiences - Facial & Unisex Piercings 10B--Personal Experiences - Genital Piercings 10C--Personal Experiences - Genital Piercings Cont'd 10D--Personal Experiences - Genital Piercings Cont'd 11A--Jewelry Manufacturers 11B--Jewelry Manufacturers Cont'd 11C--Jewelry Manufacturers Cont'd This section includes: 7 Healed Piercings 7.1 Changing Jewelry 7.2 Stretching Piercings 7.3 Bondage Play 7.4 Hiding and Retaining Percings 7.4a Retaining Piercings During Surgery 7.5 Piercings and Common Medical Procedures 7.6 Body Jewelry and Metal Detectors 7.7 Piercings and Employment All texts written and (c) 2000 by Anne Greenblatt unless otherwise noted. Please see Part 1 of the FAQ for information regarding copyright and dissemination of the FAQ. DISCLAIMER! The Piercing FAQ contains material of a sexually explicit nature. The information contained in the Piercing FAQ should not be construed as medical advice. 7 HEALED PIERCINGS 7.1 CHANGING JEWELRY After a piercing is healed jewelry may be changed as desired. The new jewelry must be of the same gauge as the original jewelry. If the jewelry is smaller, the piercing will shrink and the piercing must be stretched to wear the original jewelry. If the jewelry is larger, the piercing must be stretched. With some piercings the jewelry must be of a certain design to be comfortable. Lubricating the piercing and the new piece of jewelry using a water-based lubricant makes changing jewelry easier. Place a small amount of lubricant onto the existing jewelry and rotate the jewelry to lubricate the piercing. Rings should be opened before lubricating the jewelry. If the jewelry must be changed before the piercing has healed, the change must be continuous to prevent the piercing from shrinking or closing. Contact between the two pieces of jewelry must be securely maintained. In some cases an insertion taper should be used to facilitate a smooth procedure. For example, when changing rings the convex ring ends cannot be held together easily or securely. The concave, gauged end of the taper should be abutted against the end of the existing ring and pushed into the piercing and the new ring inserted in the opposite direction. Externally threaded jewelry must be heavily lubricated to reduce the risk of damaging the piercing during insertion. The threads can get caught on the interior of the piercing, making insertion difficult and painful. Threaded jewelry is most securely tightened using a tissue or gauze to grip the balls. Never use pliers to tighten balls. In the case of internally threaded jewelry, using pliers can strip the threads from the ball. Please refer to Part 2B of the Piercing FAQ for information about different jewelry designs. 7.2 STRETCHING PIERCINGS Only well-healed piercings should be stretched. Stretching too soon or too fast can tear the piercing or stretch it unevenly. Piercings will stretch beyond the thickness of the jewelry if the wearer plays with the jewelry frequently or wears heavy jewelry. A stretching taper should be used to test how far the piercing can be stretched safely. Stretching tapers are available from body jewelry suppliers. A taper will stretch the piercing evenly in all directions. Using a taper will facilitate a continuous insertion of the larger jewelry. Insertion tapers are available with a concave end for inserting rings or with a pin coupling to guide internally threaded jewelry. Heating the piercing prior to stretching by using hot compresses or by soaking the piercing allows the tissue to expand more comfortably and easily. Piercings can be stretched using knitting needles manufactured in the Brown and Sharpe gauge system. The disadvantage of using knitting needles is that both ends are tapered, making continuous insertion of the jewelry impossible. Some people may have sensitivities to the metal from which the needles are made. Some plastic needles have a seam that can damage the piercing. Piercings can be stretched by adding weight to the jewelry. However, adding too much weight to thin jewelry can tear a piercing. Additionally, weighted piercings tend to stretch vertically rather than evenly in all directions. Piercings may be stretched by wearing an increasing number of rings. This method may not be comfortable in areas of the body on which pressure is exerted. Piercings often stretch unevenly with this method. If the rings are in the same configuration for a prolonged period of time, the piercing will conform to the gaps between the rings. Tapered jewelry such as rings or plugs or talons can be used to slowly stretch a piercing as the jewelry is worn. The instrument used to stretch the piercing should be sterilized or at least thoroughly disinfected. The piercing may be sore for a day or two after stretching. If the piercing tears or if it produces a discharge after stretching, it should be treated as a new piercing with an appropriate aftercare regimen. 7.3 BONDAGE PLAY Strenuous bondage play using chains, restraints, and weights should only be practiced with piercings of at least 10 gauge. The thinner the gauge, the more easily the piercing will tear. The depth of the piercing should also be considered; a shallow piercing is more likely to tear or be injured. Nipple clamps may be used with caution on pierced nipples with the jewelry in place; the clamps should be placed parallel to the direction of the piercings. Padlocks Standard luggage or hardware padlocks are made of metals which are not appropriate for wear in piercings and which can cause an allergic reaction. The inner workings of the locks may not be rustproof. Wildcat Collection (UK) manufactures several stainless steel padlocks which use a screw mechanism, not a key. Jewelry By Ponce (US) manufactures gold and silver padlocks which use a key. 7.4 HIDING AND RETAINING PIERCINGS Eyebrow Eyebrow piercing retainers are short lengths of wire with a small hook at one end which is worn over the top entrance of the piercing. Eyebrow retainers are not secure and should not be worn in new piercings. Niobium and titanium retainers may be anodized to to colors close to skin tones to appear less conspicuous than steel retainers. Nostril and Labret Niobium and titanium nostril screws and labret ends may be anodized to colors close to skin tones. Small domes and flat discs are less conspicuous than balls. Nostril screws can be disguised by coating the ball with skin tone colored nail polish. Remove the jewelry before applying the nail polish and allow it to dry thoroughly before wearing. This method should only be used for healed piercings. A few manufacturers make acrylic labret piercing retainers which are similar to labret studs but with a colorless rubber o-ring on the front to secure the stud. Septum Septum retainers are U-shaped pieces of metal, either rounded or squared-off, usually between 5/16" and 3/8" wide and approximately 3/8" long. The spread of the shanks should be adjusted so that the retainer may be comfortably flipped up into the nose but snug enough to prevent losing the retainer. Wire in gauges larger than 10 is more difficult to shape into a small U shape. Some manufacturers make large gauge retainers with thinner shanks so that the retainer can be accurately shaped and adjusted. For piercings larger than 8ga, plugs or eyelets may be more comfortable ormore readily available than retainers. Tongue Tongue jewelry is most visible when the wearer is laughing and yawning. Colored titanium, niobium, plastic or acrylic balls are less conspicuous than steel balls. Unfortunately titanium and niobium jewelry will fade over time. Plastic or acrylic balls which have been colored with vegetable dye will also fade over time. Plastic and acrylic cannot be autoclave sterilized and hence cannot be worn in a new piercing. Plastic balls can break if bitten hard enough. A few manufacturers make acrylic tongue piercing retainers which are similar to labret studs but with a colorless rubber o-ring on the top to secure the stud. Retainers cannot be worn in new piercings because acrylic cannot be autoclave sterilized; additiionally, swelling can force off the o-ring. "No-C-Um" barbells are pink dental acrylic saucer-shaped balls internally threaded into a metal bar post. 7.4a Retaining Piercings During Surgery Most hospitals' policies require that patients remove all jewelry prior to surgery in the interest of the patients' safety. Depending on the location, jewelry may interfere with procedures. For example, oral and nasal jewelry can interfere with breathing apparatuses. Certain types of emergency equiptment such as the heart defibrillator can cause electrical burns if the patient is wearing or touching metal. Nylon ear studs, available from most department and accesory stores, can be worn in ear, nose and lip piercings during surgery. These studs have a flat disc at one end and are secured with a barrel-style clasp. Unfortunately these studs are only available in thicknesses equivalant to approximately 20 or 18 gauge. Monfilament nylon cord, such as fishing line and weed trimmer line sold in small spools at hardware stores, can be matched fairly well to various gauges. The packages state the metric thickness of the cord which can be compared to the thickness of the jewelry. Please refer to Part 2B of the Piercing FAQ for a list of gauges and their metric equivalents. The ends should be rounded and smoothed using a file. The piece should be disinfected prior to wearing. Securing monofilament is often difficult. The ends may be flattened into a disc shape using a hot knife or the ends can be wrapped with tape. Monofilament can be autoclaved safely. The Association of Operating Room Nurses addressed the issue of removing body jewelry for surgery in an article appearing at http://www.aorn.org/journal/297/clinical.htm 7.6 PIERCINGS AND COMMON MEDICAL PROCEDURES Finding a piercing-knowledgeable doctor is more difficult than finding a doctor that is piercing-friendly. While a doctor may have the best intentions, s/he may not be knowledgeable enough about piercings to identify problems caused by inappropriate jewelry, inappropriate piercing location, or a metal sensitivity. Too often doctors assume that every problematic piercing is infected when the problem can be attributed to other factors. Some people are apprehensive to visit a doctor in case of a problem because they feel that the doctor will disapprove. Your doctor should be professional and should not be morally judgemental or express personal disapproval about your piercings. DENTISTRY Removing tongue and lip and possibly nasal jewelry may be necessary for x-rays if the jewelry is in such a location as to interfere with the accuracy of the x-ray. Routine procedures such as cleaning should not require the removal of oral jewelry unless it is so large that the dentist cannot adequately work around it. Please read Part 2C of the Piercing FAQ for information about the risks of damage to teeth and oral tissues resulting from oral piercings. SURGERY Most hospitals' policies require that patients remove all jewelry prior to surgery in the interest of the patients' safety. Depending on the location, jewelry may interfere with procedures. For example, oral and nasal jewelry can interfere with breathing apparatuses. Discuss the hospital's policy with your doctor or surgeon prior to admittance. Take necessary jewelry removal and insertion tools with you, just in case. In the case of emergency treatment or surgery, such as after an accident, your jewelry may be removed by hospital staff if you are unable to do so. Unfortunately, because many hospitals do not have appropriate jewelry removal tools (namely ring opening pliers) and the staff does not have knowlege of the opening and closing mechanisms, the jewelry may be damaged or destroyed during removal. ULTRASOUND / X-RAY / MRI / CT SCAN Ultrasounds performed on the abdomen usually do not require removal of navel jewelry unless the jewelry is directly over the area which is being examined. CT scans of the head require removal of all facial jewelry. The MRI, or Magnetic Resonance Image, uses magnetism to obtain an image. Most hospitals require that all metal jewelry be removed for MRIs. Any metal in or on the body will greatly distort the image. Whether or not MRIs produce a magnetic force strong enough pull jewelry out of the body is debated. N.J. Marsh <njmarsh@chat.carleton.ca>, a former technician, comments: "When I was working, jewelry of any sort would not have been allowed in an MRI. Even stuff like fillings would artefact images, and so all metal except for seriously permanent stuff would have had to come off. Whether or not you should remove your jewelry hinges on departmental policy and your personal reasons for the procedure. For an elective procedure, I would definitely arrange for removal of metal jewelry (with replacement by non-metal if necessary) in order to obtain the best possible result." Scott Dorsey comments: "It is true that MRI is strong enough to pull out metal no matter how small, but this will only affect items which are magnetic (ferrous; this includes hematite beads). The good news is that your jewelry probably is not magnetic. The bad news is that it might be. Not only will ferrous metal be pulled out with enormous amounts of force, causing damage to your tender little body, but it will also distort the magnetic field and smear the image in the vicinity." Neil Forrester <naf@psy.ox.ac.uk> comments: "I recently went for an MRI scan for a friend's experiment. The nurse told me to remove all metal from my person before the scan. I pointed out that I had nipple rings and that I could not really remove them because reinsertion would be a real hassle. Luckily I had recently changed the jewelry to titanium which is not magnetically active, so I only had to remove the steel beads. " Ray Pearson <TAT-INS@worldnet.att.net> comments: "I just got back from my doc's and from getting some x-rays. While there I talked to the technician. You do not have to worry about your jewelry during an MRI. While there are strong magnetic fields generated there is not a pole to speak of. The jewelry will become magnetized but will not be pulled out through your skin. It would ruin your 'picture' due to the metallic disturbance of the field; they would have to remove it to get a clear image if the distortion was in the area they needed to view. She stated more than once that your jewelry will not rip out." 7.7 BODY JEWELRY AND METAL DETECTORS Security metal detectors are used to detect certain types of metal which may be part of a weapon, firearm or bomb. The metals used for body jewelry are usually not detected. Very few people have reported setting off security metal detectors, and in these instances they had been visiting a country with very high international border security. Others have commented that the secondary handheld detectors did not react to their body jewelry. 7.8 PIERCINGS AND EMPLOYMENT Several readers of rec.arts.bodyart have been suspended or fired because they have visible piercings. Unless there are specific state, county or city laws prohibiting job discrimination based on appearance, employers can establish and enforce employee dress codes. Since many employers have encountered pierced employees before, dress codes often specifically address ear and facial piercings. Following is an example of a case in which the employer changed the dress code after an employee acquired a piercing the employer found unacceptable: From: "Jozette Porter" <tedybear@swbell.net.stopspam> Subject: I'm being fired for a pierce. Date: 16 Apr 1997 04:21:37 GMT Just like the subject says. I got my tongue pierced 4 weeks ago, and last week I was hit with a new policy. One earring per ear ONLY, no other pierces. Well, I refused to take mine out, so I was suspended today. They are going to fire me when the paperwork is complete. Do I have any options? Jozette decided not to persue the matter. "I'm not sure if they targeted me or not. There were about six of us who had it done. Supposedly the policy was being hammered out before I even got mine." If the dress code is established or changed after the employee is hired with visible piercings or after the employee acquires visible piercings, the employee may be able to argue that the employer is targeting and descriminating against him/her. At present, no civil suits of this nature have been filed. In the food, medical and chemical industries, health department regulations or industry standards may prohibit jewelry for safety reasons. References: The Answer Man http://www.bermudasun.org/issues/j14/answer.html Exec Style: Tattooing, Piercing Seldom in Company Dress Codes http://www.bcbr.com/jan98/pierce2.htm -- -- Anne Greenblatt Manager of the rec.arts.bodyart Piercing FAQ Piercing Exquisite http://www.piercingexquisite.com