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My sad, failed stomach surface piercing

I got this piercing in summer of 2004, but I'm not sure whether I've already submitted the experience here. I think now is the best time anyway, because I've learned a few lessons and hopefully can pass them on to anyone considering the same piercing.

In 2004 I was 19 and already had a few piercings and a tattoo. I had been interested in piercings since high school, and I also had stretch ears at 0g. By this point I already had 3 lobe holes, my rook, right nipple and nose done. I wanted something a little unconventional. I had looked into surface piercings, and was confident I could handle the pain. I also knew they had a high probability of rejecting, but I thought I would do it anyway and see.

I got a friend to come to the studio with me. At that time, I think Artistic Impressions was the only studio in the city, but I had gotten other stuff done there in the past so I didn't mind. There was quite a lineup, so we sat in a waiting room area to wait. I was second to next in line, when all of a sudden a girl showed up, cut the line and walked into the piercer's studio. I was like "wtf?" We waited, and waited... after about an hour my friend told me he needed to leave, but I told him to just leave me there because I still wanted to get the piercing done.

After more than an hour, the random girl left, and I was finally given my turn. When I went into the piercer's studio, I asked, "Were you doing a tattoo, or did something go horribly wrong?" He replied, "No, I was breaking up with her." Awkward. In retrospect, that was really unprofessional and I wish I hadn't sat there for more than an hour while he dealt with his personal problems. Leave it at home!

The piercer's name was Jeremy. He had told me to go to a shop down the street and buy the jewelry required for the piercing from a combination jewelry/used clothes/head shop. The piece he instructed me to buy was a long (inch and a half, I think) 12g barbell commonly used in industrial ear piercings. He told me he would take the price of the jewelry out of the quoted price of the piercing. I was a little put off, but I said okay, walked down the street and bought it.

When I got back, he autoclaved it and then used pliers to bend the ends of the bar so it was in kind of a staple shape. Then he told me he was planning to use a 10g needle to pierce me because the bar would go in better (he seemed really excited by this, as if it had only just occurred to him). He thought that a 12g bar would 'anchor' it and it would be less likely to reject with something so big.

He made two dots below my navel, on on either side so it looked like the navel was centred between/above them. The actual piercing was really painful, but bearable. He pushed it through the first dot, and then had to kind of squish my stomach skin up in the middle to push the needle through and dig for the second. There was a little blood. He put the jewelry in and screwed the balls on. From there I had to go call someone else to pick me up. While I was waiting for my ride, I had trouble sitting or moving around because it would cause pain to my abdomen. I also felt like I had to walk very slowly.

The pain subsided after a few days, though it would hurt a lot if I got the balls caught on something. In the future, I'd rather go with flat discs as they sem less likely to catch on things. I cleaned it every day and applied a sea salt soak twice daily. Jeremy recommended this piercing spray that they sold at the shop, but I found it only made things worse. After a while, all the redness subsided and it didn't hurt at all as long as I took care of it.

Fast forward six months. I gained about 30 lbs from the time I got my piercing to winter 2004. I had also stopped caring for it as religiously as I should have. I still washed it in the shower every day with spectro jel, but only did sea salt soaks occasionally. In retrospect, I would keep doing it twice a day for as long as the piercing is still in my body. That, plus the weight gain stretching out that area of skin, made the piercing start freaking out. It was permanently red, and sometimes leaked pus. It also felt irritated and itchy a lot. After two months of this, I decided to take it out.

I found out later while talking to another piercer that what Jeremy did was wrong. He shouldn't have bent the bars because the bent part wasn't smooth, and probably scratched the inside of the piercing while it was in my body. She showed me a few smaller, thinner surface piercing bars that were specifically manufactured for surface piercings and had much smaller balls on the ends. Man, I wish I had gone to her instead! She seemed to have more experience with surface piercings and to really know what she was talking about.

It has been almost four years since I took it out, and now I have a bit of weird scarring. The bar part isn't visible, but you can feel it under the skin. And the two exit holes have become two shiny white depressions in my skin, about the size of pencil erasers. The scar tissue there is very soft and thin. Next time, I'll insist on going to someone who has the right kind of jewelry and knows how to do the work. I will also go to someone who obviously respects his clients. And finally, if I ever do get it redone, I will baby it in the hopes that it will stay!


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 21 Oct. 2008
in Surface & Unusual Piercing

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Artist: Jeremy
Studio: Artistic+Impressions
Location: St.+Catharines%2C+Ontario

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