Why transdermals suck, by yours truly

Just like some other big name guy who shed blood for his followers, I shed blood for the readers of Modblog. People are complaining that Modblog isn’t updating and I wanted to help, but without new submissions to BME there is little for me to choose from. So instead of complaining or making excuses, I took action and used this lull in post as the encouragement I needed to get those godforsaken transdermals removed from my noggin.

First and foremost, I want to be clear I knew the risk going into the initial procedure and I realized the super low success rate of transdermals. Hell, I think the BME Encyclopedia entry on transdermal removal summed it up best.

All in all, because of the low success rate and complications, transdermal implants are one of the few procedures that BME recommends against — although we fully support people’s right to get them, if and only if they fully understand and accept the risks.It should also be noted that a variety of professionals are trying to solve the problems with transdermal implants.

I got my implants done by a highly reputable practitioner, whom I also consider a friend. As far as procedures go, it was as spot on as one could hope for.  In fact, long time modbloggers may even remember this post Shannon made of them when they were brand new.

As is the case with most transdermals, they never actually healed. The wounds around the transdermal post oozed, well, pretty much constantly. The channels the implants were inserted in stayed seperated from the underlying tissue and bubbled up. Hair growth was nullified in a large circle around each of the implants……….and this is just what I dealt with in the first year.

I tried lots of remedies, some holistic, some horrific. I used everything from chamomile tea bag soaks to injecting alcohol around the transdermal stems  to dry out the excess lymph. Nothing had any lasting affects. As the years went on the implants just got worse, most started migrating and the first one (as you can see in the before picture) rejected to the point of one foot coming completely through the skin.


While there has been no definitive study on the long term success rates of transdermal implants,  20% or less seems to be pretty accurate. I’d even go so far to assume that most of those will not last indefinitely and that a lot of the “successful” ones aren’t actually fully and properly healed.

I (speaking purely as myself, and not for BMEzine.com) feel that the  transdermal implants, as we know them, have  no place in modern body modification. The original design by Steve Haworth, was ground breaking and without that original design we may not have the microdermal anchor design that we have now. However, with the gray area legality of the implantation procedure and the unlikeliness of them properly healing, I just don’t see why they are still being commonly offered. Don’t get me wrong, if a practitioner wants to do some on a highly modded well informed client, I am not opposed, I just don’t see the point. However, the fact some practitioners will do these on any walk in client is an atrocity and a total F-You to our entire community.

One thing that I feel will certainly make transdermal implants obsolete is large gauge microdermals, such as those offered by Anatometal. With them offering micros up to an 8 gauge, that can be inserted with piercing techniques (no invasive surgery) and also removed far easier that transdermals, I just can’t see the need for an invasive and potentially illegal surgical procedure with a low success rate.

Anyhow, that’s my take on the subject, feel free to chime in your opinions on this topic in the comments. For a whole lot of photos from my transdermal removal procedure, keep on keeping on.

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BME Risk Update: Parenting and Stretching

The BME Risk section on BME is an invaluable source of information pertaining to the risk associated with various body mods. However, like all of the BME Wiki features, it is in need of some updating, and that is something any BME member can sign on and do.

Perhaps then, I should write an entry on the dangers of parenting and having body mods. As you can plainly see here, my 10 month old son, Sylas, has no problem yanking on my stretched lobes with all of his might.  He also likes grabbing the microdermal on my face, biting the subdermal on my hand and clawing at the already angry transdermals in my head.

So remember modbloggers, the pull out method only works if you actually pull out and kids are awesome, but they can be hell on body mods.


I Borrowed It

Oof. So this poor guy was just hanging out in Moscow, Russia, minding his own business and maybe doing some sweet tricks on his BMX when he (apparently) had a pretty phenomenal bail and did some devastating structural damage to one of his 40 mm. lobes. Ugh. Do you see why your editor just stays inside all the time? Sure, we are likely dealing with a number of preventable vitamin deficiencies due to our lack of sunlight, but the chances of this happening? Very, very slim. This guy, though? Didn’t bitch and complain, just stiff-upper-lipped it and got that son of a bitch sewn right back up. Shots of a simpler pre-bail life, as well as post-reconstructing, after the jump. Best of luck healing, good sir.

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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)

Full Coverage: Links From All Over (June 19, 2009)

[Animal NY] Hoo boy, is this not just the most irritating story ever or what? OK, so, as we (and everybody) mentioned previously, 18-year-old Kimberley Vlaeminck allegedly went to Romanian tattoo artist Rouslan Toumaniantz and ended up with 56 stars tattooed all over her face. She claims she only asked for three and then fell asleep, which is just a preposterously stupid lie, while Toumaniantz says that she knew full well what was happening and only freaked out once her father or boyfriend or whoever lost their respective shit. Now she is suing the tattoo artist, because she wants the stars removed, of course. Is your brain leaking out of your ears yet? Mine is!

Anyway, my initial response to this mess of foolishness was that it was a hoax, because, come on: Nobody involved in this situation could be deranged/myopic enough for any of this to be real, right? Well, Toumaniantz is apparently a member over at BodyMod.org and posted this response, saying he did, in fact, tattoo this crazy person. Hooray.

Then, the girl said she felt asleep during the tattoo session. But :

1) Tattoo hurts,
2) Tattoo hurts more on face than on most other places,
3) Tattoo hurts even more on the nose than on the face,
4) Apart from the pain factor, the emotional impact of a first tattoo is huge, which makes it even less likely to sleep during such a session,
5) During this tattoo I had to ask Kimberley to change quite often her position, because the face isn’t flat and you need to always adjust the persons position and yours to be able to tattoo,
6) Kimberley did stand up many times during the session and did check up the work in a mirror,
7) We spoke during a part of the session,
8) The call log of her mobile phone and SMS activity could easily show that from the start of the session to its end she wasn’t sleeping,
9) And most importantly, a witness, being totally independent from both sides saw all the session from its start to the end, and confirms every word above. Kortrijk police made an inquiry, and both of us (me and the witness) were conducted shortly after Kimberley tattoo was finished to the police station, and both of us said exactly what did happen, and therefore gave exactly the same version of the events. Copies of minutes (in Flemish) we can provide.

So Kimberly was absolutely aware of what was happening during all the tattoo session and got what she asked, no more no less.

So that’s the end of it, right? Poor judgment on his part for tattooing an unstable teenager’s face, maybe, but she’s still a dirty rotten liar…right? Well, except for the fact that there is now some dumb Internet toy called The Kimberlizer, which allows people to decorate photos of themselves with the same star pattern as our young heroine, and…you see where this is going, don’t you? From Animal NY:

Among the few media outlets to interview the starlet is Belgian radio station MNM, who’s advertising agency, Famous, is behind the Kimberlizer. A French newspaper says the website, which allows visitors to digitally place 56 stars on their face via webcam, was opened in April, well before the story happened. Additionally, theorists point out that MNM’s logo is a star, just like the ones covering Kimberley Vlaeminck.

In conclusion, no matter what the truth ends up being, there will almost surely not be a more aggravating tattoo-related story all year. BME extends hearty congratulations to everybody involved. Let’s all take turns punching each other in the brains, forever.

[CBS 42] At last, our long national nightmare is over! Megan Fox, the most famous tattooed person since, I don’t know, the Memento guy, has decided to heed her mother’s advice and stop mucking up her body with the devil’s ink. Let us pray.

Fox recently announced plans to cover her entire right arm with ink – but she’s now backed out of the scheme insisting she won’t be heading to the tattoo parlor again any time soon.

She says, “They’re definitely addictive. I don’t have any that I truly regret yet, but I’m sure I will at some point.”

“I’m trying to refrain from going forward for that reason. I don’t want to be 40, looking at my arm in the mirror and going, ‘Oh my God – what did I do?’”

In exchange for this promise, Fox’s mom will now let her wear make-up to school and have sleepovers every Saturday night.

[Vancouver Sun] And finally, let’s finish this wretchedly awful news week with reports that yet another Canadian tattoo and piercing shop is giving all of its customers HIV and every type of hepatitis, except this time it’s not just a matter of lazy paperwork: The clown at the centre of this story is “Zipp,” the proprietor of Edmonton, Alberta’s Zipp’s Tattoo and Museum, who, well…

On a spur-of-the-moment whim and fuelled with a bit of liquid courage, Corinda got a tattoo of a Playboy bunny on her left hip two months ago.

Now, the 26-year-old is stepping forward to be tested for HIV and hepatitis B and C after the health authority closed Zipp’s Tattoo and Museum shop at Whyte Avenue and 100th Street because of unsanitary practices and sterilization concerns over reusable piercing and tattooing equipment.

The owner told health inspectors he had been recently tattooing animals in his studio, but denied tattooing people.

The health authority is now asking people to come forward for testing.

Hey, come on! The guy is just trying to run your average illegal animal-tattooing dungeon. What’s the big deal? Prudes.

Charges are being considered by the health authority since Zipp’s –in business at another Whyte Avenue location since 1978–was also closed in 2007 because of unsanitary conditions and infection control. At that time, the health inspector said the risk of contracting blood-borne pathogens was considered low because the proprietor used single-use, disposable needles.


Health inspectors closed the tattoo parlour June 5 after noting the owner didn’t wash his hands before performing procedures and didn’t wear gloves.

Dirty and unsterile instruments were being used on clients, and the ultrasonic cleaning device was not being operated in a sanitary way. Ink went unlabelled and instruments, including needles, were improperly stored and handled.

In all fairness, the child laborers Zipp had “hired” to oversee the cleanliness of the shop totally dropped the ball. “Wah, my fingers hurt, wah, I’m hungry,” they would cry, long into the night, while Zipp tattooed pig after pig, laughing his terrible laugh, the end.

White Ink Irritation

Happy Saturday, ModBloggers! Hope the day finds you well. Today we check in with Twitter, who had a semi-gnarly reaction to these white-ink paw tattoos she got a little while ago, and then proceeded to receive a succession of poor opinions. Take it away:

I’m not sure really how to explain it. It was a blister/hive kinda thing. One paw scarred pretty bad. I just started training a new job and was stressed out. One paw started out and then it spread to all of them. Went to a few tattoo artists over town. Got completely mixed reactions. Everything from saying I’d have to get them cut out, lasered off, to take allergy meds and just wait and see how it goes. It lasted a few weeks then went away after eating at least a couple boxes of Benadryl. It hasn’t acted up again.

See more in Wildlife and Nature Tattoos (Tattoos)

Moonshin Tattoo Client Tests Positive for Hepatitis B

Well, this isn’t good. Last week, we mentioned the predicament in which Moonshin Tattoo and Peel Region find themselves—namely that, after it was discovered Moonshin had neglected its book-keeping for its sterilization practices for four years and that the local government had made no efforts to inspect the premises, both are now the subjects of a $20 million lawsuit by people who had been customers at the shop during the aforementioned period.

CityNews is now reporting, as seen above, that a man who received a tattoo from Moonshin in that time-frame has been diagnosed with hepatitis B.

“A close friend of mine went there before and said they were professional,” revealed the father and husband.

“You should feel comfortable and [be able to] get artwork done without fearing anything happening to you.”

A grain of salt is necessary here: The man has asked to remain anonymous, and his claim alone doesn’t prove anything. But, he also mentions he’d had blood-work done prior to getting the tattoo that recorded him as having a clean bill of health. If this is in fact true, and there’s nothing in his personal life to suggest he was exposed to the disease anywhere but Moonshin, this is a case that could have far-reaching and potentially devastating effects on future legislation.

Once again, there is no excuse at this point for irresponsible record keeping (or worse, sloppy practices not even worthy of record keeping). If you’re in the body modification industry and want to be taken seriously and treated like a professional by the public at large, then the onus is on you. It’s no secret what’s at stake; the fact that your carelessness can wreak havoc on an entire industry should be common knowledge. This isn’t to say there aren’t client-side responsibilities as well, like getting frequent blood tests if you’re getting body modification work done regularly, but nonetheless.

Whether or not the man interviewed above is telling the truth (and hopefully we’ll find out for certain soon, one way or the other), the fact that this is gaining traction at all isn’t doing the industry as a whole any favors. If Moonshin hadn’t dropped the ball, this probably wouldn’t be a story in the first place.

Tattoo Parlour, Peel Sued Over Possible HIV, Hepatitis Exposure [CityNews]

Coming to Toronto: Health Educators, Inc.

This weekend, David Vidra will be making his triumphant return to Toronto as Health Educators rolls into town to give the famous Bloodborne Pathogens and Sterilization workshops! Information for each is below. Space is limited and walk-ins cannot be guaranteed, so please pre-register! E-mail David for registration information.

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WHEN: Sunday, March 8, 2009

TIME: 10:30 am to 5:30 pm
(Registration begins at 10:00am)

WHERE: 1 Hook Ave.

Bloodborne Pathogens & Principles of Infection Control for Modification Practitioners is by far the most comprehensive industry-specific bloodborne pathogens training course available for Traditional Tattoo Artists, Cosmetic Tattoo Artists & Professional Body Piercers. This course is compliant with the federal Bloodborne Pathogens Standard (29 CFR 1910.1030) & Hazard Communication Standard (29 CFR 1910.1200). It features comprehensive updates on the very latest changes in health & safety regulations as they apply to the modification industry, with training in solid, industry-specific solutions for maintaining compliance within a modification studio environment.

The Bloodborne Pathogens & Principles of Infection Control for Modification Practitioners course is being offered at a special convention rate of $150.00 per person if pre-registered or $175.00 at the door. A $50.00 non-refundable deposit is required per person at the time of registration. Full payment & deposits can be paid via money order, certified check, or credit card. Price includes all course materials, copies of industry-specific OSHA interpretations, free product samples & a certificate of training valid for one year. Course Space is limited! Pre-registration is highly recommended to ensure availability. Pre-registered participants receive the discounted rate & are guaranteed course space & materials; all others are welcome on a first-come-first-serve basis, as availability allows. Lodging is not included, but a morning coffee service and a late, light lunch will be provided.

* * *


WHEN: Monday, March 9, 2009

TIME: 10:30 am to 5:30 pm
(Registration begins at 10:00am)

WHERE: 1 Hook Ave.

Sterilization from Start to Finish is a hands-on workshop that examines the theory behind cleaning, decontamination, and sterilization. This course takes an in-depth look at the many factors affecting sterilization including equipment processing, packaging, monitoring, troubleshooting, equipment storage, documentation, and quality control practices. Sterilization from Start to Finish is by far the most comprehensive industry-specific sterilization training course available for Traditional Tattoo Artists, Cosmetic Tattoo Artists & Professional Body Piercers.

The Sterilization from Start to Finish course is $200.00 per person for the Sterilization course only. OR $250.00 per person for BOTH the Bloodborne Pathogens course on Sunday, March 8th AND Sterilization course on Monday, March 9th (that’s $100 SAVINGS!!). A $50.00 non-refundable deposit is required per person at the time of registration. Full payment & deposits can be paid via money order, certified check, or credit card. Price includes all course materials, free product samples & a certificate of training. Course Space is limited! Pre-registration is highly recommended to ensure availability. Pre-registered participants receive the discounted rate & are guaranteed course space & materials; all others are welcome on a first-come-first-serve basis, as availability allows. Lodging is not included, but a morning coffee service and a late, light lunch will be provided.

This is What Happens When You Bang Your Implant

So … that’s unpleasant. A cautionary tale:

Well this is a lesson learned: Never fight if you have implants. I banged my arm on a wall during a fight and this was the result. It started off as a small graze and over a week the pressure opened the hole right up. The implant is clearly visible and it got infected; obviously, it had to be removed.

Guhhh. See? A life of nonviolence, among the many other benefits, will probably keep your implants from rotting out of your goddamn arm. At any rate, we wish this fella the best of luck in healing.

See more in Implant Removal (Implants) (members only)