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

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Archive-name: bodyart/piercing-faq/healed-piercings
Last-modified: May 01, 2000
Posting-frequency: Quarterly

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
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:

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
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.



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
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

Lubricating the piercing and the new piece of jewelry using a
lubricant makes changing jewelry easier. Place a small amount of
onto the existing jewelry and rotate the jewelry to lubricate the
Rings should be opened before lubricating the jewelry.

If the jewelry must be changed before the piercing has healed, the
must be continuous to prevent the piercing from shrinking or closing.
Contact between the two pieces of jewelry must be securely maintained.
some cases an insertion taper should be used to facilitate a smooth
procedure. For example, when changing rings the convex ring ends cannot
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
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
interior of the piercing, making insertion difficult and painful.

Threaded jewelry is most securely tightened using a tissue or gauze to
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.


Only well-healed piercings should be stretched. Stretching too soon or
fast can tear the piercing or stretch it unevenly. Piercings will
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.
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
and Sharpe gauge system. The disadvantage of using knitting needles is
both ends are tapered, making continuous insertion of the jewelry
impossible. Some people may have sensitivities to the metal from which
needles are made. Some plastic needles have a seam that can damage the

Piercings can be stretched by adding weight to the jewelry. However,
too much weight to thin jewelry can tear a piercing. Additionally,
piercings tend to stretch vertically rather than evenly in all

Piercings may be stretched by wearing an increasing number of rings.
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
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
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.


Strenuous bondage play using chains, restraints, and weights should
only be
practiced with piercings of at least 10 gauge. The thinner the gauge,
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
in place; the clamps should be placed parallel to the direction of the


Standard luggage or hardware padlocks are made of metals which are not
appropriate for wear in piercings and which can cause an allergic
The inner workings of the locks may not be rustproof.

Wildcat Collection (UK) manufactures several stainless steel padlocks
use a screw mechanism, not a key. Jewelry By Ponce (US) manufactures
and silver padlocks which use a key.



Eyebrow piercing retainers are short lengths of wire with a small hook
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.
and titanium retainers may be anodized to to colors close to skin tones
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
than balls.

Nostril screws can be disguised by coating the ball with skin tone
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

A few manufacturers make acrylic labret piercing retainers which are
to labret studs but with a colorless rubber o-ring on the front to
the stud.


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
be comfortably flipped up into the nose but snug enough to prevent
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
For piercings larger than 8ga, plugs or eyelets may be more comfortable
ormore readily available than retainers.


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
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
cannot be autoclave sterilized; additiionally, swelling can force off

"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
surgery in the interest of the patients' safety. Depending on the
jewelry may interfere with procedures. For example, oral and nasal
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
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
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
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


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
problems caused by inappropriate jewelry, inappropriate piercing
or a metal sensitivity. Too often doctors assume that every problematic
piercing is infected when the problem can be attributed to other

Some people are apprehensive to visit a doctor in case of a problem
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.


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
cannot adequately work around it.

Please read Part 2C of the Piercing FAQ for information about the risks
damage to teeth and oral tissues resulting from oral piercings.


Most hospitals' policies require that patients remove all jewelry prior
surgery in the interest of the patients' safety. Depending on the
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
your jewelry may be removed by hospital staff if you are unable to do
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
or destroyed during removal.


Ultrasounds performed on the abdomen usually do not require removal of
jewelry unless the jewelry is directly over the area which is being

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
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

N.J. Marsh <>, a former technician, comments:

"When I was working, jewelry of any sort would not have been allowed in
MRI. Even stuff like fillings would artefact images, and so all metal
for seriously permanent stuff would have had to come off. Whether or
not you
should remove your jewelry hinges on departmental policy and your
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
but this will only affect items which are magnetic (ferrous; this
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
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
in the vicinity."

Neil Forrester <> comments:

"I recently went for an MRI scan for a friend's experiment. The nurse
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
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
beads. "

Ray Pearson <> 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
an MRI. While there are strong magnetic fields generated there is not a
to speak of. The jewelry will become magnetized but will not be pulled
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
if the distortion was in the area they needed to view. She stated more
once that your jewelry will not rip out."


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
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.


Several readers of rec.arts.bodyart have been suspended or fired because
they have visible piercings. Unless there are specific state, county or
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
ear and facial piercings.

Following is an example of a case in which the employer changed the
code after an employee acquired a piercing the employer found

From: "Jozette Porter" <>
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
  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.
  are going to fire me when the paperwork is complete. Do I have any

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
was being hammered out before I even got mine."

If the dress code is established or changed after the employee is hired
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
have been filed.

In the food, medical and chemical industries, health department
or industry standards may prohibit jewelry for safety reasons.


The Answer Man

Exec Style: Tattooing, Piercing Seldom in Company Dress Codes


                              Anne Greenblatt
                Manager of the rec.arts.bodyart Piercing FAQ
                             Piercing Exquisite

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