Cutting Gone Wrong


Acts of body modification, even when performed by experienced professionals, can still have unpredictable results, and even the best-laid plans can go unexpectedly awry. Such was the case for this gentleman above, who, following a cutting, thought he was well upon his way into healing when things took an unfortunate turn.

This just goes to show you, even in a sterile environment and with proper aftercare, things can still go wrong. I followed precise aftercare, cleaning and re-dressing my wound 2-3 times a day, etc. Everything was going great until the seventh day of healing, when I developed two small pink areas. Talking to my artist via phone (who will go unnamed) we discussed the possibility of a heat rash but he wouldn’t know until he saw it in person and told me to stop wrapping it. I woke up the next morning and I saw what you see in the photo, which took about only nine hours to develop. Needless to say, I’m now taking two types of antibiotics, four pills a day; hopefully it will clear up soon. I can’t help but feel bummed because less than two days ago, everything looked perfect. Over the years, this is my first body modification to ever go wrong or become infected.

See more in Misc. Cuttings (Scarification)

55 thoughts on “Cutting Gone Wrong

  1. It almost looks like an allergic reaction due to the rash being near what looks like where the edge of the dressings were and then possibly spreading to the cutting…. i’m curious what type of bandaging was used… I’ve seen similar reactions to adhesive from band-aids before.. either way…hope it goes away and the scar heals normally!

  2. Oooh, ick. That looks like what happens to me when I use band aids – something in the glue fucks up my skin, and it spreads quick if I don’t deal with it. Hope it heals up soon!

  3. yeah i know the reaction that the glue makes sometimes but the area of the scarings are diffrent to that. you noticed the 2 dots, one left one right, next to the scars. it seems like it spreads from there

  4. I’m with #2…
    It doesn’t even look super infected. More like an irritation or some kind of adverse reaction to something.

    Regardless that sucks pretty hard. Really hope it clears up for him.
    it’s never fun when your body decides to say no.

  5. that is kind of shitty to happen to you, i hope it gets better!
    and by the way, those plugs look damn awesome!

  6. Just to point out (or maybe be the devils advocate) modification shops do not use sterile feild or technique. Medical asepsis is used, technically not free of all microbe forms. Sterile feild requires the removal of all microbe formations, both normal flora and transient microbe colonies. Medical asepsis does involve the sterilization of objects however is quickly considered contaminated from a medical stand point. Medical aspesis requires prudent effort to have as close to a microbe free set up/procedure as possible and follows similar but very diffrent guidelines.

  7. I’d like to know what the prognoses from the doctor was to require the antibiotics. It appears like a reaction to the wrapping, not MRSA. I am curious.

  8. Just wondering if you have been diagnosed by a dermatologist or doctor on this one since you are on antibiotics? Also I have learned from doctors and BBP classses that there are so many different forms of rashes and skin disorders that its almost impossible for someone to self diagnose. Google image pics of staph, that looks nothing like mrsa. If it was mrsa he would probably still be in the hospial, thats becomes life threatening sometimes within hours.

  9. wow man i am terribly sorry that happened to you! hope it heals up fast and your scars heal how you want.

  10. That doesn’t look like MRSA at all. And fyi, MRSA does not necessarily require a hospital visit, if oral antibiotics are taken in a timely fashion. At any rate, I hope it clears up soon.

  11. By the looks of the picture it seems like you were covering the area with plastic and creating an incubator process that caused your body to react to the plastic which probably has latex properties in it. If you also look at the tape area you can also see some irritation there also that may contain latex also. Simply let it air dry and clean it on a daily basis would take care of that and also by seeing your doctor they put you on antibiotics and that will aid in a speedy healing. So always make sure to not over do the covering of the tissue that has been cut open your body can react easily to it.

    But thats just my opinion. : )

  12. Although possible the irritation may have manifested into an infection, in most cases when skin irritation occurs after a scarification a simple zinc oxide cream (for diaper rash) calms it and eventually remedies the problem within two to three days.

    As for the quote regarding “experienced professionals”, I know for a fact that this was this practitioner’s 2nd, or possibly 3rd, piece ever done. I know this because it was recently emailed to me and asked of my opinion and advice.

  13. @19, yea the peice itself is apparent that it wasnt done by a very experienced cutter. look at the middle arrows/triangles on each side, they are poorly done (by modblog standards) and are very thin and not very strait cuts. unprofessional and unhealthy. sorry about ur mishap dude

  14. That definitely looks like a reaction, not an infection. Anyone who cries MRSA is fuckin’ retarded, as evidenced by the linear discoloration clearly caused by the dressing, dressing adhesive, or a combination of the two. And I’m sure the healing procedures were followed to a “T”‘, but what if it was something bogus, like a regiment of strictly sea salt without a proper anti-bacterial agent? The affected site is clearly “greasy” which could indicate some sort of salve was used, which could also cause a reaction given the chemical nature of it. In my professional opinion I would lean more towards #17 and 19′s prognosis and assume it was either heat rash or a latex reaction. If i were a betting man, given the artist’s initial assumption of heat rash, I would assume it was covered in some sort of air tight dressing which trapped heat and moisture at the site of healing leading to common heat rash, and that this was not the first time, given the artist’s healing instructions, that this had happened. The only thing that truly concerns me are the two “holes” that look to be created by alternate methods apart from the cutting. But given that the irritation is not localized to those spots, it is safe to assume that the problem did not originate from there. Keeping the area clean and dry with a mild anti-bacterial soap would be my prescription.

  15. it looks alot like cellulitis, I got it from a tattoo a while back and it pretty much looked the same. have to take hella good care of it or you can be put in the hospital for like a year or longer its crazy.

  16. If I were him, I’d see a dermatologist.
    Doctor’s too quickly diagnose infection when its not and prescribe antibiotics, they should have referred to a dermatologist.. (Even in Canada, they have specialists on call!)
    I’d definitely be seeing a doctor if my skin looked like that though… and I’d probably take the antibiotics as prescribed, also. (And I’d get tested for MRSA and staph, and all that jazz.. I would want a diagnosis, not an assumption and a, “here’s a prescription! take these!”)

  17. I agree with Spiral about the design and placement; I hope it heals really well. Awesome plugs too! Good luck Mister!

  18. when i had my tattoo covered with clingfilm i get rashes like this, so i’d say it’s irritation from being covered. mine is quite itchy for quite a few days but then gradually goes away. sucks doesn’t it :(

  19. I wrapped up a scar once too. Eventually I got this same reaction. EXCEPT I noticed the skin reaction before it got to this point. So I unwrapped it, didn’t put anything on it ointment/ lotion wise and gave it plenty of air and it cleared up. My girlfriend has had the same reaction with a scar of hers and noticed it before it got to this point. If the practitioner told you any sort of ointment, it could be the petroleum in it, or tons of other things that are common in ointments like camphor or lanolin.

  20. Doesn’t really look like a classical infection, and definitely not cellulitis. If I were putting money on it I’d say it was a allergic or irritant reaction.

  21. there are two dots on either side of his neck. the look like he had microdermals there that got infected or something!

  22. speaking from experience- of having had a pretty nasty staph infection after a tattoo last summer— looks like a cellulitis in its begining stages— which is very easily mistaken for an allergic reaction because the first symptoms are intense itching and redness, not pimples or pus or crustiness or other stereotypical “infection” symptoms—

    MRSA, is a variety of staph, just more serious because it does not respond to the antibiotics used to treat garden variety staph, the same bacteria that causes boils and monster zits—- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Staphylococcus_aureus / http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cellulitis—

    it´s very important to treat it with the right antibiotics if it has spread to like the one pictured, because it can get into the blood stream and make you very sick, very quickly.

    It´s not necessarily a hygeine/cross-contamination thing at the moment you do a tattoo/cutting, and it´s why infections of this type often don´t present symptoms until a few days after—staph bacteria often live normally in/on our bodies and homes- and it is why scratching/touching your fresh tattoo/cutting/piercing is such a no-no, as the bacteria can very easily infect broken or irritated skin, especially in an individual with a weaker immune system — by which I don´t mean AIDS or cancer, just your typical gets a lot of colds/ has allergies/ stressed-out/play hard/work hard type person. Some people are just more prone to skin infections than others, especially in summer heat. The best way to look at it is as a wake up call about your general health— should you sleep more, drink & stress less, and maybe consider working on your immune system with herbs/acupuncture for a while before modding again?

  23. To clear something up, please be careful when using MRSA as a term. MRSA is a very dangerous form of a staph infection that is resistant to most commonly used antibiotics. Most of the infections people get will clear up from taking commonly prescribed drugs, but MRSA requires a more aggressive approach and usually some type of hospital stay to be sure. While all staph infections are dangerous, MRSA’s are particularly so. Throwing out a diagnosis of MRSA right away is reactionary, when it is much more likely that he has an allergic reaction or ‘run of the mill’ infection.

    And to me, it looks like he had an allergic reaction to the tape (as seen by the red on the tape lines) AND some sort of infection originating from the what look to be small star cuttings, since the huge red area swells out from them. Hopefully, the antibiotics will take care of anything – they certainly can’t hurt. Good luck.

  24. Looks like what happened to me on my first scarification piece. It was a large cutting/removal on my leg and part of the healing was to keep it warped between cleanings. my whole lower leg got red/blotchy, and itchy/soar. I stopped wrapping my leg, (and irritating the cutting) gave my leg a good wash with provon and then went about my life with it unwrapped. by the end of the first day it was worse and I was getting worried, woke up the next day and it was much better, and when I woke up the next day it was all gone.

    I know it was ether a reaction to my leg sweating under the plastic and the sweat not being able to evaporate, or a reaction to the prolonged exposure to the plastic warp itself, or a combination of both. (I didn’t have tape since I know my body reacts badly to most adhesives)

  25. it does seem to follow a pretty distinct barrier, most probably where the adhesive was in contact with the skin?

    i’d be interested to see how this ultimately affects the healed piece, especially the removals.

  26. @19 you’re right, it was his 3rd piece done :) (I knew this and never said he was experienced with the procedure in the original email.) Well the scoop was I developed a fungal and a bacteria infection. The doctors didn’t look too much into it, but put me on the pills and later an ointment. It got much worse before it got much better, but came and went relatively quick. Everything is fine now, the swelling from the infection however thinned out the cuts on my left side. The doctor concluded it wasn’t induced by the artist, rather my work environment (I work at a pet spa) or other variables because it developed after a whole week of the procedure (which I wanted to hear most because I trust and am friends with the fellow, although I was still guinea pigging for him). I never received a definite answer as to why it got infected, but all I care about is that it’s fine now :)

    and please don’t mock my beard, I try. (not really.)

  27. Bet the doc had an absolute field day telling him what a silly bugger he was getting pieces of skin removed for the sake of vanity :D

  28. Brendan, did your doctor swab the affected area?
    Without a swab – you’re not going to get a definitely accurate diagnoses.
    It “Looks” like a lot of things. Irritated? Yes. Infected? Possibly…? You’d know with a swab testing of the area.
    Doctors are very quick to diagnose “Infection” and prescribe antibiotics. Unfortunately, this is partly why we have MRSA to begin with. Drug resistant Staph. Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus. Misdiagnosis, people not finishing their antibiotic runs or saving them for later, etc.

  29. Yo he tenido reacciones similares (no tan extremas) por cubrir mis escarificaciones. Me llegaron a salir pequeños granitos de pus pero dejando de tapar la scar y limpiandolo bien desaparece en unos dias.

  30. Oh thats look bad :(

    happy to hear its all healed up
    I will say tho the last time i got tattoo the artist covered my back with cling wrap and surigical tape and resulted in a big mess rashes. Which is fairly funny. Coz i use them materials everyday at work mainly the latex/ surgical tape..

    but atlease its all healed up now :)

    and thats a shocker of a beard lol

  31. This reminds me a lot of a “infection” i had. My stretched lobes got really, Really irritated at one point. They were all red and scabby and all that fun stuff. My “doctor” obviously thought i was stupid for doing that sort of stuff to my body and said it was an allergic reaction to the A-grade surgical steel plugs i wear. When me AND the nurse confronted him about the fact that i use the exact same material with my other piercings, he said “yeah, allergic reactions can be very quick and random, if you continue to put any form of jewelry in your lobes it will happen again. I have been having happily stretched lobes for over a year now, and my allergic reaction was to my shaving cream i found out later. Thanks doc, not all people with piercings and tattoos are stupid and some actually know what the fuck they’re doing.

  32. Looks to me like it was being wrapped in saran wrap or some other plastic wrap, and if that was being done over a week, I would be surprised if there wasn’t a problem. Wrapping a tattoo or scar in plastic wrap creates an environment for bacteria to flourish!

  33. Gah,

    Now dont you all look like a bunch of silly fucks saying “ohhh reaction to adhesives”, “ohh doctors are lazy.”

    It was properly diagnosed as an infection. Clearly, labeling this as a freak occurrence after a professional (arguable) procedure is misleading.

  34. looks quite similar to what happened to my scars when i had them wrapped in saran wrap secured with a plastic medical-grade tape (during the summer, too, so i was overheated and sweaty most of the time) – though when i left them unwrapped for a day at a time the rash would disappear. just me two cents.

  35. So this is fungal and bacterial? Is the redness and bumps the fungus? I’ve never seen something get bacterially infected in splotches like that – where its so far from the actual cutting.

    I hope you’re feeling better and healing well. It’s also nice to know it wasn’t due to the artist and I think it was nice of you to clarify. Good luck!

  36. Awww :(
    In the words of Rabbie Burns, The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley.
    Basically what Jordan said but uberScottish. xD

    I hope they heal well!

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