Sub-Clavicle Piercings

I sure like Mina’s piercings. They really freak me out in a “if any piercing is going to kill you, this one is” kind of way (a la transscrotal piercings they can internalize serious infections in ways that fester quickly and become dangerous very fast) but wow do they look great. I really like them a lot, and hers are now two and a half years old so she seems to be doing quite well with this elite piercing.

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About Shannon Larratt

Shannon Larratt is the founder of BME (1994) and its former editor and publisher. After a four year hiatus between 2008 and 2012, Shannon is back adding his commentary to ModBlog. It should be noted that any comments in these entries are the opinion of Shannon Larratt and may or may not be shared by LLC or the other staff or members of BME. Entry text Copyright © Shannon Larratt. Reproduced under license by LLC. Pictures may be copyright to their respective owners. You can also find Shannon at Zentastic or on Facebook.

59 thoughts on “Sub-Clavicle Piercings

  1. Soooo, Hate to state the obvious here, but I’m going to. My husband is a funeral director, I’m a professional body piercer for 6 years (and a nursing student) and this is a pretty silly piercing in terms of safety. When my hubby is draining a body and replacing fluids for embalming they open the sub-clavial artery because its huge(the name might have given it away but it runs under your collar bone)…. He literally makes an incision and uses his finger to ‘fish’ it out for lack of a better term. Being a good piercer has nothing to do with pushing the envelope, or putting your clients in harms way hoping everything turns out. It has everything to do with a comfort, cleanliness, and safety.

  2. See, my beef with subclavicular piercings is they introduce scarring where my profession often needs access to veins quickly to provide life saving procedures, fluid support and medications. I just feel like compromising central veinous access is ill advised.

  3. Guh, Shannon, why don’t you just tell the TRUTH and say you want to sleep with this girl?

  4. I performed this mod on clients twice. The first was a success, while the other was a disaster(note:client was not harmed). I’m not proud of the fact that I have performed this procedure, and I never will again. I’m in agreement with Manda on this one. Its my job as a professional to ensure the health and safety of the procedures that I perform. To put it mildly this piercing is NOT SAFE to perform. Not only is this piercing close to a major artery, but also quite close to the lungs. At this point I would much rather do microdermals to get the look of a sub clavical piercing, without the excess tygon or ptfe, and without any danger to harming my client.

    Enthusiasts: Why put your life at risk?
    Piercers: Do you really want the death of a client on your concious?

  5. I’m all for people doing life threatening things if they understand the risks (be it piercing or be it freediving or freeclimbing or BASE jumping or car racing or asphyxia sex or whatever); this piercing is a huge turn-on for a wide variety of reasons and I can completely understand why people want to do it. But as a professional piercer I wouldn’t personally do this piercing because of the extreme liability issues should something go wrong… But still, I sure love it…

  6. Love her hair! The piercings do suit her but personally I wouldn’t have them.

  7. It seems a shame that the quality of photos required has gone down in favour of “myspace” vanity pictures where you can barely see the mods.

  8. agree with shannon on the willing to risk life for something i enjoy. everything in life is a risk. you minimise it as much as you can but you cant let it stop you doing something you really wanna do.

    if you are serious about wanting the piercing and understand the risks and minimise them as much as you can then get it.

    they certainly add to her amazing hotness.

  9. Deb – If you want to see closeups view the main galleries, click through to linked pages, interviews, etc for that. ModBlog is in part about “vanity” pictures so if you don’t want to see that stuff, stick to the main sight for a tighter focus.

  10. I don’t get why you wouldn’t use microdermals for this. As far as I can see, you would get the same “look”, but avoid the dangers associated with these piercings. I understand “look” isn’t the only reason you might want these, and that microdermals have their own issues, but to my mind it just seems like a better idea.

  11. Nocebo – I guess the simple answer is that some people are into body modification for the “look” and some people are into it for the “reality”. I’m not suggesting that one is better than the other, but if you’re into the reality, just faking it doesn’t really cut it.

  12. i have bad scarring from my sub-dermals, but i miss them a lot. however, they look lovely on her, and she is lovely herself.

  13. She also had this done two and a half years ago. Though they were in use, micro dermals may not have been an option for her.

    Even then, much like Shannon said, maybe she wouldn’t have wanted micro dermals. I’m having a sternum surface piercing done, I could get the same look with micro dermals. But I don’t want micro dermals, I want a surface bar.

    In any case, they look lovely on her. I love the idea of this piercing and would find it so appealing if it were safer.

  14. my concern about procedures like this is all it takes is one poor soul losing their life on a piercers table, and just the wrong congressman hearing about it before the republicans try to regulate professional piercers out of business. the possibilty of a person dying from this procedure is very likely, regardless of how well trained or skilled you are as a piercer. remember the artery of concern is behind the clavicle making any chance of applying pressure to stop or slow bleeding impossible. i was informed by a surgeon friend of mine that in the worst case scenario an person could die from loss of blood in a matter of minutes (far before one could even think about getting them to a hospital). i think we all need to think about the big picture when considering this procedure.

  15. Noah – I think that you’re making a very important point — if things go very wrong on this procedure, they go wrong in a way that it can be difficult to keep the person stabilized long enough for them to get treatment in time.

  16. Surely the picture is just some body taking a picture of her looking at her phone and they are using a proper camera?
    Lots of my friends have that phone and the picture quality is good.. but not that good.

  17. I can understand why she wanted the reality of these piercings, and they do look lovely, but I’ll never get used to (or like) the look of PTFE hanging out of a piercing. It always reminds me of the plastic ends of shoe laces for some reason.

    And although initially I wasn’t going to put my 2 cents worth into the side discussion about the camera phone, I can say that my camera phone takes pictures of equal quality to this, and it’s not even that new a phone. Being a light background photo goes a long way to cutting down the obvious graininess of camera phone photos.

  18. RainbowLightning – Samsung has a 10 megapixel camera phone… there are getting to be some pretty good ones. Roo has a pretty nice one too, it even stitches panoramas and everything…

  19. Oh, fuck, don’t call it “elite,” now every douchebag in the world is going to try it.
    Wait. It’s dangerous and potentially deadly… douchebags will try it… that might actually not be too bad of an outcome.

  20. Shannon – At what point did a more risky piercing become “real” ?

    I agree though that this kind of piercing has more in common with an extreme sport where the potential risk to life appears to be more important than any other element.

    If the desire is for the appearance then there are much better ways of achieving it, if the desire is to follow those that have done this before and re-create the risk then this has less to do with adornment and everything to do with risk-taking.

  21. Personally in terms of sub-clavicals…I think that piercers should stop performing the procedures, flat out.

    HOWEVER I will say appearance wise (flush not the long ass piece of silicone tubing hanging out) it looks nice.

    I’d say if people WANT the sub-clavical look, they should open themselves up to the idea of getting microdermals/surface anchors. As that way its single point piercings, giving the ILLUSION of sub clavicals…But safter.

  22. I like it with the overhang of the jewelry personally, because it emphasizes that it’s “real” … It’s probably also slightly more comfortable, although at the same time it’s potentially going to increase the possibility of drawing in contaminants.

  23. Wow, that’s a very intense piercing.

    But Shannon, it bothers me a little that you called this an “elite” piercing – does that somehow imply that those who get more intense, dangerous, or “extreme” modifications are somehow superior to those who don’t push the envelope quite as far? That just doesn’t seem like an idea you would espouse, based on what I’ve read from you in the past.

  24. 2 microdermals might look the same but you will always just have 2 microdermals. is like a cheap and cheerful imitation. like getting some temporary tattoos because you are affrid of the pain of real ones. you will never be in the club. and those that are will make fun of you.

  25. MrWill – thanks for demonstrating the elitist attitude in question. Getting two microdermals is hardly “cheap and cheerful” because they’ll heal much more readily and will definitely not kill you, two promises that the incredibly stupid and dangerous sub-clavicle piercing cannot easily make, and comparing it to getting a temporary tattoo is just plain ignorant and deliberately obtuse of you. Thanks!

  26. I think when Shannon said it was real, he meant that to some people, microdermals may seem “fake” as compared to the “real” piercing itself, as they are a mod, but not really a piercing, and getting something that just looks like the piercing may seem like you’re just faking it. Like #44 said, it’s like fake tattoos.

    Absolutely beautiful piercings…I think it’d be better if the bars weren’t so long, less irritation and whatnot, but she’s had them for so long she obviously knows what she’s doing and it’s working for her.

  27. “Nocebo – I guess the simple answer is that some people are into body modification for the “look” and some people are into it for the “reality”. I’m not suggesting that one is better than the other, but if you’re into the reality, just faking it doesn’t really cut it.”

    Shannon couldn’t have said it any better! I would KILL to have sub clavicles but because of the risks I will end up getting 4x micros instead. I’m not too happy about it, but at least it’s something…

  28. This isn’t extreme, or elitest or anything of that matter…Personally I view it as down right stupid to do…The fact that certain people can heal them is much like how people are able to heal surface piercings with CBRs/Straight Barbells.

    It is NOT a common piercing and not EVERYONE can heal it, and infact you’re life is in peril when you actually find someone who thinks they can do this procedure.

    I know a few piercers, personally, who have done these…And they are strongly against doing them anymore…And will refuse any of the general public if they ask them to perform the procedure.

    Yes surface anchors instead of ptfe or silicone is giving it the ILLUSION of it so in reality its a “fake” sub-clavical…But honestly…I dunno, maybe I just care about my life and well-being more than others…What with the constantly having to remove and re-insert the ptfe or silicone tubing,etc…But persoally I’d rather give an illusion, then wake up dead.

  29. I want to echo Noah Babcock’s mention of legislation-happy politicians getting the wrong idea about what we do for a living.

    In Michigan a few years back, some legislator in Lansing heard about “tongue splitting” and headed a campaign to outlaw tongue piercings as well.

    The APP helped me inform every member of the health committee of the safety of properly done tongue piercings, but they still managed to outlaw the splittings.

    I worry about dangerous or extreme piercings because they put my career in jeopardy. I also strongly suggest that we NOT promote language such as “elite” in regards to more dangerous modifications; if only because I think that folks who get modifications as some kind of competition or to be cool and “elite” are idiots.

  30. Warren – Really, then we should be calling transscrotals, amputations, and any number of other body modifications “stupid”. I don’t think that’s fair… If someone wants to take the risk, let them. Getting these piercings is certainly still safer than, say, being a freeclimber as a hobby. People are allowed to do risky things if they want to.

    It’s not for you, but that doesn’t mean it’s not for someone else… We all agree that it’s extremely risky — EXTREMELY — but that doesn’t mean that its “stupid”.

  31. I would consider trans-scrotals and amputations,etc a lot different then a sub-clavical piercing, due to the surgical nature of said mentioned procedures. Those types of modifications are most often done privately and below the radar, due to the use of scalpels, sutures,etc.

    I won’t say that its stupid on the side of the client, it certainly is their right to try and find a way to get these modifications. But its “stupid” and unethical for a piercer to play with a humans life in such manner.

    I’ve never seen an amputation first hand, I do know that the at home procedures are never done like how a hospital would amputate a body part. I’ve seen trans-scrotals done and I’ve seen & heard of them going well as well as going horribly wrong. But with a sub-clavical piercing I’d say the risk is like you said definately a seriously risky procedure to go through.

    As always I’d like to ask any one who offers sub-clavical piercings, if they cover ALL the basis of the procedure. ie: do they actually tell the client that one of the risks is death. Or do they just over look that part when discussing that procedure.

    Death is like you said a VERY EXTREMELY risky situation, and people really need realize that, clients as well as piercers.

    I just think piercers are suppose to enhance and better a person, not put them in serious life-threatening situations. Just for the sake of doing something different and unique,etc.

  32. also I’ll retract the whole “stupid” comment as perhaps that isn’t the correct pc-wording for what I’m trying to come across by saying.

  33. Just wanna point out I’m no elitist. I think microdermals are great. But to try and fake anything is pretty pathetic. Some people will like the safer easier option. Other people like things risky and they want a rare piercing.

    It’s like all sorts of things. Some people like going for a slow drive around somewhere nice to relax on a Sunday afternoon. Other people wanna race around at 200 miles an hour risking their lives. Both are equally valid but to tell racers that they should slow down is stupid. 2 microdermals will never be anything like a sub clavicle.

    If you know the risks and you want to do something do it.

  34. Gosh…well, sorry to be a bit slow on the uptake here – I normally read this pretty regularly but having not been online all weekend it was awesome to log on and see myself on modblog! Thank you all for all your lovely compliments – you made me go pretty much the same shade as my magenta mop for a second there – however, I did feel compelled to tie up a few of those pesky loose ends after reading your thoughts.

    Seeing as it was such a long time ago, I don’t feel like I can justify writing a full experience testimony, as I’m bound to omit some things which are probably quite important.

    The way I see it, the main issues of moral contention are threefold; personal, social and legal. With regards to the first, I have to say that this is not a piercing I would have approached any piercist to undertake, regardless as to whether they had successfully done it before. I suppose it was all circumstantial, and I was fortunate enough to have someone that had performed more complicated and uncommon piercings on my previously (uvula, to name but one. Which is also still in place almost three years later) and whom I trusted implicitly due to his professional and knowledgeable approach. I also researched it religiously, almost obsessively beforehand, safe in the knowledge that he would do the same. And lo, he provided me with a verritable tome outlining all the relevant anatomical facts, the risks involved (which we also discussed at length) and we also decided that the best way to appraoch this would to be to do each one a few months apart to observe healing and allow for my body to accomodate and adjust. I also know that if he had had any reservations about his ability or felt that I wasn’t able to handle it then we wouldn’t have gone ahead with it. I guess I was just lucky to know the right people at the right time. And as far as I know, I’m the only person he has ever done this piercing on.

    With regards to the social implication of sub-clavicles, I know that for every person who successfully gets them to stay in, or at least get the needle through successfully withough being rushed off in an ambulance, there are a plethora of people willing to go to virtually anyone and, well, risk serious injury. I’m quite happy to sit and talk to people for hours about them, I have, but never once have I condoned it. Only once have I given out the number of the shop I had them done at and then I trust the integrity of my piercist to use his discretion.

    With regards to the legality, I think I also benefitted from living in the UK – from testimonies I’ve read, I can kind of infer that the body modification industry is under much less centralised scrutiny than that in North America. The prevailent issue here is sterility, and general hygene and helath and safety (sharps bins, etc) and age identification which is controlled by local authorities, and the majority of the law regarding it is covered under Consent. I do respect the fact that just a small number of procedures gone wrong would upset the proverbial apple-cart, but to be frank, the number of more “extreme” procedures undertaken here is trivial.

    Anyway, just my two cents. If you’d like to ask me anything, I can be contacted on, and I’d be happy to answer any questions or concerns directly.


    (and with regards to the photo, I really did take it on my camera phone! Really! It was a sunny day and I have particularly big windows. Heh.)

  35. I too have had these piercings now for a good couple of years and yet to have any problems. By using the word elite to describe them I don’t think Shannon meant in an elitist attitude sort of way, I think he was aiming more at the fact that not everybody can actually get these piercings. Unless you can get in to the right position to make your collar bone stick out enough then the piercier is not going to be able to get to the best place to pierce them. That is the opinion of the guy who pierces me.

    And as for the Microdermals debate I agree with Shannon, it just isn’t the same. Look is definately NOT all there is to body modification. Microdermals instead of bars under the bone is the same as the jewellery that looks like a plug back and front but in actual fact is just a disc at either end and small bar in the middle. Looks exactly the same but nowhere near with none of the expierience good and bad with stretching something from nothing.

  36. im not into piercing usally ( i mean i dont like them way they look, not that i care i anyone else get them) but i think these looks very cool. maybe he girl is swaying my judgements :)

    but it does seem kind of unsafe. im dont understand why anyone would think it was posuer (well i do understand why) to do the microdermal things. i mean it looks cool and yea its not exactly the same but so what. people put the anchors in all kinds of crazy places, so just placing them in the same spots as the subclavicle seems fine to me.

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