In the past couple years, a new rage has developed in the arena of body modification and piercing: the dermal implant. Before this handy fresh mod existed, the only way to get the look of gems or spikes on areas of the skin not easily pierced was to glue them into place with a non-toxic adhesive. Currently, however, on the center stage of body art, the temporary fix of glue and craft store rhinestones has gone the way of the dodo, and our friend the dermal implant has effortlessly stolen the show.
There are three major types of dermal implants.
1. Subdermal Implants
Subdermal implantation is when an object is surgically implanted beneath the layers of the skin (or dermis), and no holes, marking, or exit points are left behind. Essentially, the object remains beneath the skin so that it's shape or design can be seen, but no part protrudes from the skin in any area. Because they are meant to remain underneath, these types of implants have no removable or interchangeable parts.
2. Transdermal Implants
Transdermals have a portion the lays underneath the skin, and also a fraction that exits the skin through a pierced hole. The anchor piece (the part below the skin) is generally implanted through a small surgical slit made close to the desired site on the body, and then a hole is punched through so that the piece that will come through the skin can easily protrude. Next a decorative topper is screwed onto the part of the anchor that passes through the skin. Toppers can be changed for these pieces, but the anchor that remains inside the body under the dermis cannot, and requires surgery for removal.
3. Microdermal Implants
Microdermals are the most common of the dermal implants, and involve a less invasive procedure and fewer risks. When completed, this type of implant gives a similar look to a transdermal, with small gems or decorations that are interchangeable resting above the skin's surface and a small anchor embedded below. These commonly heal much like a standard piercing and can be placed at almost any location desired.
Today we'll concentrate on the most prevalent of the three types mentioned here: Microdermal Implants.
As mentioned above, microdermal implants involve two pieces: the anchor (which is implanted below the skin), and the top (the piece you can see that rests atop the skin.) Dermal anchors have holes in them and an oblong shape, and when the modification has completely healed, the skin will grow around the holes and the topper can be changed out for different colors and styles. This type of dermal implant usually heals similar to a regular surface piercing, accept that extended redness and bleeding are very common in the days directly following the procedure. The use of a dermal punch for opening the pocket in which the anchor will be placed is the most common method of insertion, but a large gauge hollow piercing needle can also be used.
The jewelry worn on a dermal anchor varies greatly based on preference, but among the more conventional choices are the ball, spike, dome or disc, gem, bolt, and the star.
The even quicker healing and less painful alternative to the microdermal piercing is called a "skin diver." These have a shape very similar to a tiny dumbell, with a thin center and larger disc-like ends. They are easy to remove with minimal fuss, and can be placed much closer together than standard dermal implants. The biggest difference aside from shape is that the skin diver is a single piece, so the decorative end does not unscrew.
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