Tuesday Questions: But Can It Go Back In?

by V Rose Dahrke

Only one search this week that wasn’t a repeat…oh, wait, no, two. I noticed another as I was about to research things. That one would be

dermal jewelry rose

and I have nothing to really say there. I don’t know if they would carry one, as their selection of dermal tops is limited, but I tend to buy all my body jewelry here. High-quality stuff, and their shipping is…well, “balling”, if I do say so myself. I’m guessing you ended up here because of my name. Hi there!

We also have

reinserted microdermal

and I can help with that one. That, I’ve had done.

I first had my microdermal placed in October of ’10. Maybe it was November. I’m not sure. I just know it was the last semester before I graduated from college. Originally, it was right at the bottom of the dip in my collarbone at the base of my throat.  The skin there was thin, so it stuck out farther than was really pleasing to the eye. It was also slightly off-center, which my piercer first denied and then later pointed out to me when he thought it was someone else’s work (he’s a good guy and good at what he does, but you have to be firm with him sometimes). In other words, it looked like this:

Holy hell do I need a newer picture.

Holy hell do I need a new picture.

If you look closely, you can see the ring of red skin around the base. By the time this was taken, it was starting to reject. In June of ’11, while at my parents’ house in England, I finally discovered what they call the “white bump of death”. Don’t know what that is? It’s just what it sounds like: a little white bump in the inflamed area around a piercing that means said piercing is beyond all hope of salvation. Up until that point you can hope and pray that it’ll settle, but once you see the bump you’re done. That bump is the jewelry forcing it’s way back out through your skin. You can cry all you want, but that thing is leaving you.

I was distressed by this for various reasons, the shortest of which is that I’d formed a strong emotional attachment to the thing, despite its many faults. Having decided to have it taken out and put right back in, I went to my piercer. He told me it didn’t look like one of his. I assured him it was. He told me it looked like it had an unusually long post on it, but was otherwise fine. I assured him it wasn’t.

Did I mention the white bump hurts? Because it hurts. Especially if it’s in a place that moves every time you swallow.

He told me I could either go home and let it pop out on its own (translation: get out of here, you’re fine) or he could take it out right then and there, which would involve knives and blood and horror and so forth.

So I said “Fine, cut it out.”

He did. He cut so little flesh that it felt like a needle prick, and it popped right out. He shook his head, apologized, and admitted that had I gone home, I would have been back with it in my hand within three to four days. After offering to autoclave and reinsert it for free, he explained that my problem was that it was in the wrong spot to begin with. He wasn’t blaming me (admirable, as it was my fault for choosing that position), but instead said he’d been inexperienced with microdermals when he’d done it. Since then, he’d discovered that they stay longer if they’re placed over a fattier area.

“Does this hurt?” He pinched a bit of skin at the base of my neck.


“How about this?” He repeated the demonstration with skin in the center of my upper chest.

“Not really.”

“It’s going to take me a day to autoclave it. When you come back for it, you might want to put it somewhere that doesn’t hurt to pinch.”

Now, all of this focused on a chest microdermal, where the big issue is getting it far enough away from the bone that the base won’t be irritated and will have sufficient tissue to which to bind. If you have one, say, in an arm or on your back, you’ll have issues with irritation from the other side. The more and the sooner it gets irritated, the more likely it is to reject.

I had mine put back in about an inch and a half lower–pretty much the exact location of the second pinch. Even if I had wanted to, I couldn’t have had it put back in the exact same spot; it was a bloody hole, and when it healed the scar tissue would have made the jewelry sit wonky. As far as procedure goes, it went exactly the same as the first time, minus about six hours of bleeding and a week with a nasty bruise. I’ve had it for…well, since then, really. Two years this June. I had one episode where it looked like it might reject again, but after I took the top off it so my infant wouldn’t play with the shiny button while she ate it settled right back down. It’s centered now, too.

So, to recap:

1: Yes, it can be reinserted, but probably not in the exact same spot.

2: If it  rejected, that probably wasn’t the best spot for it anyway.

3. If you put it somewhere else, pick a spot that’s protected from irritation on either side of the jewelry. Unless, of course, you want it somewhere that’s really prone to irritation but looks hella cool, in which case murple chicken foftle garden hose, ’cause you’re not listening anyway. And that’s ok. I’m just telling you because you asked.

Note: This is an anecdote. As usual, I’m not a professional, have no idea what I’m talking about, and am probably wrong about everything. Trust your needleman.