> Dermal Anchoring

Dermal anchors seem to have become all the rage lately in the body piercing world. Dermal anchoring is a procedure wherein jewelry is implanted under the layers of skin through a single opening rather than being placed through a tunnel with two opening as in traditional body piercings. The first use of this type of procedure is often attributed to Bejamin Trigg, although there is currently some debate as to the validity of this claim. Despite its origins, dermal anchoring or implant piercing as it is sometimes called has become quite popular and has caught on all over the world.
Solid grade 23 titanium dermal anchors
The dermal anchor jewelry used in this type of piercing most often consists of a base with an internally threaded post into which various attachments can be secured. The flat base of the anchor is placed in pockets under the skin and the only visible part of the jewelry becomes the ball, spike, or disc attached to the shaft. This unique piercing can be done in almost any location on the body and results in the illusion that the visible end is attached directly to the skin.

There are several methods used to do this type of piercing. The best method, and the one recommended by the author, is to use a 1.5mm (14ga) dermal punch (aka biopsy punch) to remove a small round plug of skin in the location where the piercing is desired. After removing the precisely sized plug of skin, the piercer then uses the end of a 14ga or 16 ga piercing needle to create one or two “pockets” under skin depending on the design of the base being used. It should be noted here that this is a very painful procedure and one which only experienced piercing professional should attempt.

After removing the plug and performing the required pocketing procedure, the piercer inserts the base into the pocket(s) beneath the skin. The insertion of the base is usually done with a pair of Kelly forceps (hemostats) and involves a bit of stretching and pressure to accomplish.

There are currently several varieties of dermal anchor bases available on the market and they vary from very good to extremely poor. It is imperative that the jewelry be made from solid titanium and the cheaper stainless stel dermal anchors shoud be avoided at all costs. Even with the titanium bases it is recommended to use ones which are machined from solid stock as a single unit and to watch out for some of the Asian imports where the base and post are manufactured seperately and the soldered or bonded together.

Once the jewelry is in place it is recommended to wait a minimum of 3 months and probably closer to 6 months before attempting to change the exposed end. If the end is changed too soon (before the piercing is totally healed) the twisting of the jewelry while changing the threaded end can result in the base moving under the skin and damaging the unhealed pockets. Not only will this be quite painful, but it will also severely hamper the proper healing of the piercing.

When performed properly, a dermal anchor implant piercing is a very nice looking piercing which can be permanent or semi-permanent in nature. This piercing is recommended to be performed by very experienced piercers only and should never be attempted at home. It is a surgical procedure and great care and total sterilization of the jewelry and work area are essential for successful results.

Please feel free to share your own personal stories or experiences with this very popular, and relatively new, form of body piercing. 


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