Circular Barbell Implant

So I wrote up a long set of potential questions for a series of piercer interviews, and I was thinking how few piercers I know that are “just piercers”… Almost everyone these days does scarification, or implants, or tongue splitting as well. There seem to be very few pure piercers out there — not that that’s a bad thing and not that it’ll stop me from interviewing them. Anyway, if anyone has suggestions on who they’d like to see in the piercer interviews — or wants to volunteer — I’m listening.

* * *

On to the entry… I remember when Steve Haworth first popularized circular barbell implants (“the piercer’s implant”) in the mid-90s, he made a point out of welding the beads on to ensure that there was no “gap” for bacteria or dead tissue to collect. However, many people still implant regular body jewelry. While it’s generally not going to cause a problem, it could increase the risk level slightly.


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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.

44 thoughts on “Circular Barbell Implant

  1. well, as long as it’s not being place in my body…it’s strange that when i come on bme you can see tons of people with scarification and implants, but i have yet to see one person here in Tennessee with either:(

  2. ya louie and i came across this the other day and were both like EEKKK!! not only were we surprised by the jewelry but by how big the cut was made. there are alot of hacks out there now a days. i also noticed there are alot of people posting pictures of the anesthetic which is only going to make things worse for alot of the people who are doing heavy modifications.

    like how in all of lanes interviews he talks about numbing up his own leg and using sutures?! come on dude!!!!

  3. Kaitlin – I’m always surprised about people showing it as well, although I suppose with Lane he was injecting himself, which I suspect eliminates most if not all of the legal concerns.

  4. practicing sutures and anesthetics is illegal for anyone who is not a doctor to practice in the states.. im not sure what the laws are in canada but i would assume even owning anesthetic without a medical license is a big no-no

  5. Those photos are pretty intense. By looking at that jewelry, it seems like it would be too heavy for an implant. Wouldn’t something like that migrate??

  6. It’s interesting to me as well now that heavier mods are more commonly accepted to see how many of the older (and thought more conservative) practitioners were dabbling in and perfecting other techniqiues besides just piercing. I’m always amazed to hear these stories about how such and such had a suspension group fifteen years ago, or how one of our “modern piercing forefathers” did a cutting on someone so long ago… etc. I sometimes think that the distinction between heavier/surgical mods and piercing is almost retroactive. That in the seventies and eighties it didn’t matter because all of it was new to the general public, but as piercing was accepted more and more in society… other modifications got a certain stigma attached (as did their wearers in most cases) and you rarely heard about some very public piercers were also very private branding and scarification and implant artists.

    I guess it shouldn’t be surprising, in any case I find societies perception of people versus the persons perception of themself very interesting.

    I would love to see interviews with:
    Derek Lowe (I think you did an old one years ago with him?)

    Kent Fazekas (I think he had/has an iam page under the name fazekas2000)

    and as a more recent experienced piercer’s perspective:
    John Johnson (dreadjohn on iam)

  7. Kaitlin – Are you sure about that? Certainly there are first aid situations where it’s legal to put sutures in, and definitely anesthetics are not contraband or restricted from possession in most areas (definitely not in Canada, and not in the majority of the US either). I doubt Lane was breaking any laws if he injected himself.

  8. Brett – Yeah, I’ve interviewed Derek before. Kent would definitely be interesting as well. I’ve asked Bethra for an interview and had a few others in mind as well.

  9. Shannon I have a friend who is a Pure Piercer. She has been piercing for over 16 years. Her name is Kate and she works at Seven Sea’s Tattoo and Chronic Tattoo in SD.

  10. Shannon, there is a trio of wonderful piercers at Enigma Pro Piercing in San Diego. To be honest, I’m not sure if they do anything else, but as far as I’m sure, they area all pure piercers. The one who’s done my (not very much) work is Corey Lolley, who made the whole process wonderful for me. My mom sat in during my first piercing (rook, although I had lobes done at birth) two years ago when I was seventeen, and ever since then she’s been much more comfortable with the idea of piercings, of which she was nervous about at first. The other two are Didier Suarez and Matt Southwood.

  11. I would definitely recommend an interview of Dana of HTC piercing in Phoenix even though he doesn’t do “just” piercings. He is one of the best piercers that I have known (and I’m talking with the ones I’ve known in the US and France) and he adores what he does like few people I’ve met.

  12. Shannon for what it’s worth I’d love to be interviewed as a piercer. I’ve been piercing professionally for twelve years and believe almost entirely in traditional techniques but I do a cutting every here and there. To top that I just had my first novel published.

    All this and I’m only 29.

    Whooo, that was braggy.

  13. Call me a dumbass but I didn’t even know that people implanted surgical steel.. I thought it was always silicone.

    It seems dumb now that I think about it.

  14. I have had stainless circular barbells (welded kind–NOT body jewelry) in my forearms for nearly 10 years now.

  15. Most of New Zealand are pure piercers.. consider only a few have branched out into scarification/branding and more recently a few into more extreme mods.. the rest of the country is pure pierce.. and a bunch that would tattoo also.

  16. thats one of the dis-advantages to living here fearandloathing, its for the most part awesome, but the body modification community is pretty much non-existent, and when it is its never as “extreme” or “boundary pushing” as in the states and other places.

  17. I think many piercers have to push the boundaries of their art, their skills and their abilities – my self included.

    I was very content for a number of years ‘just piercing’ my customers before I moved into scalpeled/dermal punched procedures. It makes an eyebrow piercing seem like child’s play in comparison.

    I have lately been studying much heavier modification procedures from Howie, including implants/tongue splits and am getting the the same ‘buzz’ that I once got from simply piercing a navel.

    Personally, its all about extending ones work into more challenging work – but continue to practice the ‘simpler’ procedures that got them to where they are.

  18. Shannon or anyone – are there any suggested numbers of how normal it is for trapped bacteria etc in gaps to cause problems in this type of implant? I mean, I have never heard of it causing a complication, but then I don’t know many people who’s had normal jewellery implanted without at least some form of modification to deal with that particular problem..

  19. I agree with jOELTRON, I have been a piercer for a number of year
    and I am now looking into implants and branding. we need to push our personal limits I think

  20. I doubt anyone would really know any ‘figures’ in regards to complications of jewellery design Serenity. Those who have had known issues will very rarely come forward and admit their blame.

    Saying that, I think personally nearly anything *can* heal (as demonstrated numerous times on BME) – but the long term comfort/feasibility may be greatly reduced when using ‘normal un-modified jewellery’.

  21. Wow, I never knew you had to make the initial cut so far away from the implant’s destination!

    …or is that just this person’s preference?

    I don’t know.

    I’m going to shut up now ;D

  22. i’ve been piercing ten years and i only pierce-though i’m actually starting a tattoo apprenticeship, i never moved into surgical mods. implants and scarification are very facinating-but i’d never really want to mess with them professionally…

    as for interviews…damn! there are so many that i’d love to see an article on…i’d really love to hear from some of the firsts in this industry -do an interview on their reaction to how much this industry has changed in a short period of time, and their view on piercers attempting bolder procedures in shorter amounts of time…and how piercing grew from obscurity in their day, to 16 year olds with inch plugs and split tongues…i’d really love to hear their take on things

  23. I can buy both sutures and Xylocaine in a first aid kit commonly sold at hunting stores and even Canadian Tire department store. It’s not illegal. It’s not legal to claim your certified or have medical training to do so unless you are a doctor. I injected myself, why should I go into shock due to pain, if it’s available and I’m not allergic to it I see no reason not to use it. Maybe the US should relax it’s laws.

  24. My experience with small pockets of trapped air contained between stainless implant objects creating negative situations came from the plastic surgery/joint replacement surgery field more than 20 years ago. As far as the distance from where the implant is placed and the opening is individual preference although I see several problems with this picture. 1 a CBB can be inserted through an opening no larger than the bead itself. In the picture above, a huge opening and extensive amount of trauma is created just to install the piece. 2 with very little amounts of study, Grays Anatomy for example can be a vast resource for safe methods of entrance. All your major veins, arteries and major nerve channels move parallel to the distal end of the body part. Creating an opening 90 degrees of the parallel significantly increases the chances of vessel and nerve damage. No offense but if the individuals in the picture had done a small amount of study they would have seen significant ways to minimize risk. But let clarify, this is just my opinion not necessarily fact.

  25. If you are looking for someone who is only really into piercing talk to Kivaka. He’s been interviewed before. I’m sure you know him. He’d make a great interview.

  26. [Ignoring the technical faults]

    The reason for such a distal incision and subsequent sucutaneous iatrogenic trauma was because…?

  27. I would love to see interviewed:

    Tom Brazda
    Lexci Million
    Phish (from the old QOD, i know he’s retired now)
    Karl Schmidt (iam: JedandSeth’s Dad)
    Anders (iam: alienboy)
    Sarah Leak (iam: Sassie_L)
    Jake (iam: Silicun)

    list could go on…. Not all “just piercers”, but all excellent, intelligent practitioners.

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