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Dermal Punched Septum

tart off, I have had my septum pierced before, at a 14 gauge, and with a retainer. It healed wonderfully, with no complications, and in an almost record time of 4 weeks, which I thought was fast, for a septum piercing. I stretched it to a 10 gauge every time I put my septum spikes in, but generally left it alone, with the retainer hiding it away. Well, over the last couple years, my tastes in body modification, partly due to a further knowledge gained on BME, and party due to self exploration, have changed. I concluded that I was in fact a large gauge guy, and meant to be. I have stretched my ears, several times, and am currently working on them, and my nipples. Well, after a couple stretching, a perfectly healed nape piercing(with a surface bar) and a little break from any modification, I concluded that my septum was looking pretty meager in comparison to the rest of me. That was when I decided to go see my local piercer here in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. That local piercer of mine happens to be none other than Eric Johansen of Primal Art, one of the most talented piercers I have ever had the privilege of being pierced by. Well, he was pretty excited about the idea, and got everything that we needed to do the punch. Originally we were going to dermal punch my septum at a 2 gauge, but when Eric got hold of some of his friends in Toronto, particularly Blair, we decided to go for a slightly smaller 4 mm punch and taper it up to a 4 gauge jewelry(5.1 mm). For everyone interested in doing this to themselves, here's where the only warning comes in. Blair, who we all know, is a crazy guy far ahead of almost anyone in cutting edge work, and the warning comes from him. In his experience, he has done a number, albeit small, of septum punches, and one that he came across, I don't believe it was his work, had somewhat bad results. The guy who had it done could not feel the tip of his nose and some of the surrounding skin. If you are considering this, consult an anatomy book and you will see that their is a rather important nerve that runs right down the front of the septum, and if too much of this nerve is removed, like when your septum is being dermal punched, then you can actually lose the sense of feeling in portions of your nose. However, if you and your piercer are willing to take that risk, then good for you. However, starting at a 4 gauge is hardly small, and will easily accommodate my desire for an at least 0 gauge septum. Okay, so you have all been warned, and now on to the good stuff... When I finally got in to see Eric, I can say I was slightly nervous, but not that overly scared. Eric had me sit down and we went about getting a cork to fit my nose. Since the cartilage in the septum is rather tough, you want to make sure that the cork or receiving tube you use is perfect for your anatomy. Eric spent probably 15 minutes cutting and shaping a cork that would fit perfectly into my nostril and right up against my septum, while still being far enough out so he could hold it. After that I had a wait while he set up the room for my new piercing. He called me in about 10 minutes later, and I found everything that was going to be used in their respective sterilization packages; one use only folks, then it's got to be cleaned(if it's tools) or disposed of(if it's a needle, or in my case, a dermal punch). Eric talked with me for a while, and then we got right down to business. We checked all of the measurements of the jewelry, tapers, and dermal punch just to make sure everything mated up perfectly. Nothing was out by more than 1/10 of a millimeter, so we were all good and set to go. Next came the betadine cleaning that probably everyone is familiar with, and the usual bad smell that's associated with it, if you're getting a nose piercing. Next, Eric marked a small dot on my old piercing, just to give himself some sort of an idea of where to punch out the septum when we did it. Now, when you're doing a heavy duty piercing, like punching out 4 mm of septum flesh and cartilage, I would highly recommend some heavy music. We went with some Slipknot, and it fit the bill perfectly. Eric leaned back the chair in the studio, essentially a dentist's chair, and positioned the cork that he had shaped earlier up in my nostril. He picked up the dermal punch and took a firm grip of each piece: the dermal punch and the cork. Told me to he was going to count to three, then I should breathe in, and he would do it. So, he counted to three, I breathed in, and bang, he pushed. Wow, did he ever push. For anyone who knows Eric, he's a pretty big guy, and a dermal punch is a very sharp tool, but he still had to push pretty hard to make it through that cartilage. I felt it penetrate the first layer of skin, probably within a 1/4 second, then it went through the cartilage about another 1/2 second later, and finally through the last bit of skin in about the same 1/4 second. A final twist of the punch lodged in the cork to make sure everything had cut perfectly, and we were through. I can tell you, from experience, that getting a septum piercing is not that painful, and doing the punch was only slightly more uncomfortable, although my eyes did tear up considerably more. One thing for sure though, is that it was an extremely loud crunch when it went through the cartilage. In fact, it almost echoed in the room. With the punch in my nose, Eric asked if he could take a picture, I didn't have a problem, so we grabbed a couple of shots of this, then a new pair of gloves, and he was back to work on me. He slowly worked the punch out of the cork, removed the cork, and lined my nose up for the taper to go from the 4 mm to the 5.1 mm, or a 4 gauge piece of jewelry. The taper went in with almost no pressure, and came out of my septum covered in blood. Again, he asked if he could take a picture, I had no objections, so he shot some pictures, got new gloves, and came back to work on me. It took a minute or two before we sent the jewelry through, just to give me a moment to relax, but the 4 gauge hollow stainless steel plug we used, fit perfectly. It was almost 15 mm wide, to accommodate for any swelling, and so that it could be moved back and forth through the piercing for proper cleaning. Eric then placed the nitrol(best for fresh cut skin) o-rings on the tunnel, and sat me up. I was feeling completely fine at that exact moment, and was completely surprised that their was not more blood. In fact, the only blood came about 5 minutes later when I was sitting in the chair and a couple drops came out each side, which we quickly remedied by adding some sterile gel to help the blood coagulate. We then fished out the piece removed, out of the dermal punch and dropped it in a little jar of glutahyde(sort of spelt like that).I noticed that Eric had hit the mark perfectly, had punched out the old septum piercing, and had removed a perfectly symmetrical, non-angled piece of me. I sat and talked with Eric about aftercare ideas, and we both agreed that with the knowledge I have, and the luck I have had with my current product, their was no need to change. If you're wondering what I use, and it really works well for me, it's a product called Soft Soap, and is an amazing anti-bacterial soap. I sat in Eric's studio for about another 20 minutes chatting with one of the girls that works there, and then took a bus home, feeling completely great. The next day, I woke to find that my left nostril had completely filled itself with blood and I could not breathe out of it. Not that big of a deal, as I just went into the shower, cleaned everything out with a q-tip and Soft Soap, and was feeling great. That first day my septum was extremely tender and ultra sensitive. It continued to be like that for several days after. With my Soft Soap and q-tips, I cleaned it very easily in the shower, or at the sink, and within a week my nose was feeling fine. By the end of the first week, the skin right around the jewelry had completely curved in, like a piercing that has been in for weeks normally would, and by the second week, my nose felt even better. So much so, that I took out the jewelry on a couple occasions to remove any built up mucus, and give my septum a very good cleaning. At almost three weeks now, the cartilage is just beginning to soften up, and although still a little sensitive, it is very close to being completely healed. I still clean it twice daily, as I did the very first day I got it, and up until now, and I can say that this piercing has healed much quicker than my last septum piercing. However, that is quite common with large gauge piercings, that they heal quicker. As I write this, I am currently contemplating when I want to go get my septum stretched further. I think it would be best to give it a couple more weeks, possibly 6 in total, just to give the cartilage a chance to soften up some more. It feels great, and although it is a rather large hole through my septum, I can't tell it's there. All in all, the dermal punch was a far superior tool for doing this procedure, and I would highly recommend it to anyone. As well, if you ever are in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, definitely stop by Primal Art and get a piercing by Eric. He is amazingly skilled, meticulous about cleanliness(he used almost a dozen pairs of gloves on me) and one of the nicest guys you will ever meet, although often pressed for time since his studio is so busy. However, he has done the majority of my piercings, from the perfectly healed, non-migrated nape, to this absolutely stunning septum punch. Thanks for reading this far, and I hope you enjoyed the information. If I ever get the pictures of my septum with the punch and taper in it scanned, I will send them to BME for all of you to enjoy. As well, look to the future for an experience from me on a scalpled labret(also a 4 gauge to start), which Eric and I will be doing come early July... -Jason


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 16 June 2000
in Nose Piercing

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Artist: Eric
Studio: Primal+Art
Location: Winnipeg%2C+Mb%2C+Canada

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