A doctor did it, and he gave me drugs...
working in a doctor's office this past summer and became intrigued by the number of girls coming in to get various body parts pierced by one of our experienced surgeons. He had noticed a demand, especially among young girls, to have piercings done in a clinical setting. A number of his patients only got the OK from their parents because a licensed ear, nose and throat surgeon was going to be involved. He now performs all manner of non-genital piercings including ear, eyebrow, nose, lip, and tongue. He said he doesn't do genital piercings because he belives the nature of that area is so bacterial that the risk of infection is unnacceptably high. I hadn't thought of getting anything pierced before, but since the doctor offered to do the procedure for free, I jumped all over the opportunity. (He normally charges $75 for the ring plus piercing, of $50 if you supply the ring.) I decided to wait a couple of weeks to be sure I wanted to do it, but by the end of July I was certain I was ready. I figure, what the hell? You can always take it out later if you don't like it. I told my mom I was planning on doing this and she pointed out to me that I have a terrible needle phobia and pass out completely every time someone draws blood from me. I decided to watch the doctor perform a piercing on one of the nurses in the office before going ahead. After seeing how relaxed she was, and how quickly the procedure was done, I had no worries about doing it myself. Since I would be lying down and anesthetized, I didn't think I'd faint or even be nervous. I had heard horror stories about rancid, infected piercings, but the doctor assured me that if I cared for it properly, there was no real risk. He advised me to clean my navel with alcohol three times a day and apply an antibiotic ointment (like neosporin) twice a day for the first two weeks. After that he said a thorough cleaning with alcohol once a day would be sufficient to insure proper healing. I think I probably had the best piercing experience of anyone I know. The doctor shot my navel area full of benzocaine until it was entirely numb, then pierced me in about 45 seconds flat. A nurse had prepared me with a very healthy dose of sterilizing solution beforehand. The doctor didn't use a "clamp" as I have heard is used in the majority of piercing parlors. Instead he just inserted the needle in a sheath of plastic through my upper navel and then removed the needle, leaving the plastic sheath behind. He threaded the ring through as the nurse pulled the plastic out. The longest part of the whole ordeal was when he had to screw the ball back on to the open end of the bar. But as I said, the whole procedure (from start to finish) took under three minutes. I suppose someone who's used to performing very delicate cancer surgeries would find a navel piercing relatively simple. I had chosen a 14-guage spiral bar and it looks great. Even my parents found it intriguing when I showed them. I will admit that, at first, I didn't like it as much as I thought I would. The doctor had placed it fairly deeply in my belly button, and other piercings I had seen before were much more shallow. He explained that he had noticed that often a shallow piercing would be rejected by the body after a few months, and that mine would gradually pull forward as time went on. One of his patients had noticed her ring moving further and further outward over a period of eight months until finally one day in the shower she heard a "ping" sound and found the ring on the bathtub floor. Apparently the body regards almost any piercing as a "thorn" and will actively reject it, even if no infection is present. He said that since a navel piercing is not a fistula, the ring can be guided to move in any direction if you pull it or even lay on it for an extended period of time. He cautioned me to make certain it never got pushed to one side or another by clothing, unless I wanted the ring to move. He also said that, in theory, there should be no problem with changing the ring after about three months. Other friends who have had navel piercings told me their piercer recommended waiting six months, but the doctor that performed mine said that was unnecessary. I have no real plans to change it for now because I really like the ring I chose. Aside from some dull pain the first couple of days, I had no infection, swelling or discharge. I had a little difficulty sleeping on my stomach the first night, but after that, I was fine. The doctor offered to write me a prescription for antibiotics should I ever encounter a problem, but I never needed it. I would highly recommend having a doctor perform any piercing because of the assured sterility and availabilty of anesthetic. I did, and I couldn't be happier.
submitted by: Anonymous
on: 28 Sept. 1999
in Navel Piercing