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Bridge Piercing - the Fourth Hole in my Nose

Most of my previous piercings and piercing stretches have been self-done. These included 1/2" lobes, 4g lobes (second hole), 8g lobes (third hole), 8g tragus (left side), 14g right outer conch, 16g nostrils (both), 8g septum, and a 14g navel piercing. I also have three tattoos. I contemplated the bridge piercing for over five years before deciding it was finally time.

I pinched the bridge of my nose and looked longingly into the mirror. I felt like the piercing "belonged" there. Something was clearly missing on my face. With a caliper and skinskribe marker, I began searching for the perfect placement for my bridge piercing. It seemed clear to me where the piercing should go.

Even though I had all the proper sterile tools and jewelry for this piercing, I decided to have this piercing done in an established shop. Some girls have their hair and nails done; I feel pampered when someone else does a cosmetic piercing on me. I had no intention of ritualizing this piercing, though I have ritualized many other piercings for spiritual purposes. Being that this piercing was almost entirely for aesthetic purposes, I felt comfortable having someone else do it.

I visited Enigma in San Diego several times before opting to have the bridge of my nose pierced there. My first several visits were for acquiring new pieces of jewelry for my recently stretched septum and tragus piercings. I was so impressed with their knowledgeable staff, I decided to return and speak to them about the bridge piercing.

I wear glasses on occasion, and I was concerned that my glasses might rest upon or interfere with the bridge piercing. Matt, the individual behind the counter and person who ultimately did my piercing, assured me that they have pierced many people with glasses. He did not believe that my glasses would affect the piercing. I also asked if they did the piercing with a straight barbell or a curved barbell. Matt indicated that they use a straight barbell as the curved barbell usually made the piercing look "droopy."

On September 23rd, 2006, between 4:00pm – 5:00pm, I arrived at Enigma. Matt was behind the counter. I advised him that I was interested in the bridge piercing. He said, "you decided to go for it, huh?" He remembered me talking about it from previous visits.

Matt asked me if I wanted 16g or 14g jewelry. I decided to go with the 16g straight barbell with the smallest balls they had. I believe the balls are 1/8" or 3mm. Matt retrieved a form that asked a series of questions and handed it to me. The form asked questions like, "have you eaten recently," "are you on any medications," "do you have any allergies," and other health and safety questions. While I completed the form, Matt excused himself to the rear of the shop to set up. Once I completed the form, I left it on the counter and waited for Matt to return.

After a few minutes, Matt returned and looked over my completed form. He asked me, "are you ready?" I told him I was. Honestly, I was not nervous. I was not scared. I wanted this piercing and I felt completely prepared. He motioned for me to follow him into the piercing room.

The piercing room was spacious and well lit. It was extremely clean and well laid out. There was a table like one would see in a doctor's office. It appeared to be adjustable so one could sit or lay comfortably.

Even though I had done some research on the internet, I had a few questions for Matt.

Q: What have you seen in the way of migration and rejection with a bridge piercing? A: Never seen one reject. There is far less pressure than with an eyebrow piercing, for example. The best thing is just to leave it alone and let it heal.

Q: What about swelling? A: Usually there isn't much swelling. The balls will be pretty snug to begin with. In three weeks, return to see if a shorter barbell is needed.

Matt indicated that the placement of this piercing was very important. No one's face is perfectly symmetrical. The key is to make the piercing look right; to LOOK symmetrical on the individual's face. I advised Matt that I knew my face, and more specifically my nose, was not symmetrical. I knew this from trying to get my nostril piercings to look symmetrical. Matt indicated that most of the time in the room would be spent marking and re-marking my face to decide where the piercing should go.

The marking was a very interesting process. Although I do not believe I can recreate his procedure in words perfectly, it amounted to identifying and marking the middle of my bridge, and then identifying and marking the location of the piercing with a horizontal line. He was comparing the location of the lines with my eyes, my nose, and my cheeks. The marks ultimately looked like cross-hairs between my eyes. Matt checked the marks from various angles, and had me make a series of faces, like lifting and furrowing my eyebrows. I checked the marks multiple times in a hand mirror and a full length mirror.

After a few adjustments, the marks looked perfect. Matt then indicated that he was going to wipe off some of the violet marks to make them lighter, and then he was going to mark the desired entrance and exit points with a darker mark (it looked black in color).

It was approximately at this point that I read the words that were printed over and over on the wall. I believe it is a Haitian proverb.

While those who give the blows can easily forget, The ones who carry the scars will always remember.

One of the things that crossed my mind at some point was what if I have to take out this piercing? What sort of scar is it going to leave? I always intend on keeping all of my piercings long-term, but a few times I have had to remove jewelry because I did not care for the placement. If the jewelry had to come out, would it leave a bad scar? Seeing the words "the ones who carry the scar will always remember" put this worry to rest. I have had my nostrils pierced multiple times in an attempt to get them to look symmetrical. There is a very, very small scar beside my right nostril piercing. The scar is so small, it is hard to see. But it is there, and it helps me remember my journey. Then I thought, the same thing would be true of this piercing. If I end up having to remove the piercing, any scarring will simply be a reminder of this piercing.

The markings were finally perfect. Matt retrieved the jewelry that he had autoclaved while he was marking my bridge. He showed me two packages, one with the bar we were going to use and the other with the small balls we were going to use. He washed his hands and changed his gloves a number of times throughout the process.

Then he stood in front of me, and with a quite and reassuring voice explained to me the rest of the procedure. He said he would explain the process again as he went through it, and that he would not pierce me without warning me first.

I laid down on the table. Matt stood up by my head. He told me he was going to use "clamps" because it was critical that the needle go exactly where we wanted it to go. They looked like triangular forceps. He put the clamps on the bridge of my nose and set to correcting the placement. He tucked and tugged at the skin until it was exactly where he wanted it.

When he was ready, he told me so. He asked me to take a deep breath in, and then blow it out. I did. He told me to do it again. I took a deep breath in, and then as I blew out, he slid the needle through the skin on the bridge of my nose. He told me to keep breathing as he removed the clamps. Then he told me to take another really deep breath in as he put the jewelry in. Deep breath in, hard exhale; jewelry in place. Then he said he had to screw the ball on, and to let him know if it pinched.

With the balls in place, Matt asked me if I felt able to sit up. I told him I felt fine, and I sat up. I was not light-headed. The piercing did not hurt. Not that it was not too bad comparatively – I mean, it was near painless. It was a little prick, and then it was done.

I looked at the bridge of my nose in the full length mirror. It was perfect. The placement was exactly where I wanted it. We went over aftercare. The most important thing, he reiterated, was that I leave it alone. Do not touch it. Do not spin it. Don't mess with it. Leave it alone.

Matt took me back out into the main part of the shop. He handed me an aftercare instruction sheet and indicated that it was the aftercare instructions that we had just gone over. He went to a cash-register and calculated the tax on the $55 procedure and jewelry. I gave him $80 and thanked him profusely for his calm demeanor and painless piercing. He thanked me in return, and gave me his card. He told me to feel free to come back or call at any point if I had any problems or questions.

I have been good about not touching the piercing. I use a mild scentless antibacterial soap around the balls once a day while I'm in the shower. I do not rotate the bar or attempt to get the soap through the piercing – I only clean around the entrances, around the balls. Twice a day, I warm a small bowl of water and put sea-salt in the water. Then I use sterile gauze to soak up the warm sea-salt water and hold it on the piercing. It is hard to do the standard sea-salt soaks on this piercing because of the placement. Once I'm done with the sea-salt compress, I rinse the piercing with cool water. The cool water seems to wash the excess salty water off and helps reduce the swelling. I should mention that the swelling has been insignificant. The skin was puffy around one ball, but returned to normal within a day.

The other thing I consider when I get a piercing is - could I really hide this if I needed to? I learned with my nostril piercings that an internally threaded 16g straight barbell can be hidden relatively easily. There are retainers made from "monofilament polyamide." If you get a 20g monofilament polyamide retainer with one flat end, the 20g retainer will screw into the 16g internally threaded steel bar. If the bar is precisely the right length, you can remove the balls and screw in these clear flat pieces, and the piercing becomes invisible. This works especially well for people who have sensitivities to the various types of acrylic or lucite retainers. You will have 316-LVM steel against your skin, and the piercing will still be hidden.

As for my glasses, they have had no affect on my piercing. The bridge piercing is well above the place where my glasses hit my nose. You can see the piercing above my glasses.

Enigma Professional Piercing in San Diego is a wonderful shop. Whether you are searching for jewelry or looking for a new piercing, I highly recommend stopping in and visiting their professional staff.


submitted by: Shaman-1
on: 30 Sept. 2006
in Eyebrow Piercing

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Artist: Matt+Southwood
Studio: Enigma
Location: 2079+Garnet+Ave.%3CBR%3ESan+Diego%2C+CA+92109

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