Extreme Body Mod: Surface Piercings
As opposed to a traditional nose or tongue piercing, a surface piercing has both entrance and exit holes that go through a flat area of skin such as the arm, leg or sternum. Corset piercings are one popular type of surface piercing, and according to the BMEzine Encyclopedia, "Most surface piercings fail, not because surface piercings are impossible, but because there are a lot of totally incompetent piercers out there that don't understand how the body heals." Most uneducated body piercers will try to do surface piercings with the straight or curved metal bars used in regular piercings. This almost always fails because the jewelry is so inflexible that it migrates around the skin as it is rejected by the body, resulting in extreme irritation and possible scarring. Because most corset piercings are intended for play purposes only, they are usually removed after several hours or days.
If you're interested in a permanent surface piercing, however, find a reputable piercer who uses surface bars for the piercing.. Surface bars are staple-shaped jewelry created especially for surface piercings because their design promotes the body's natural healing process. They are considered to be the only acceptable option for surface piercings. Another, less recommended route is flexible jewelry such as Tygon-based bars or Teflon tubing. Although these types of jewelry are designed to move with the body and are intended to decrease pressure on the wound, they are not as reliable as surface bars. If you are getting pierced by an inexperienced piercer, your surface piercing will almost always run the risk of surface piercing rejection. Beginning on the outside and working it's way in, surface piercing rejection is a result of the body attempting to push out a foreign object in much the same way it would a splinter.
There are some steps you can take to reduce the chances of rejection. For example, placing a surface piercing on a part of the body that often comes in contact with bra straps, waistbands or belts will practically ensure failure due to the constant impact and rubbing. Try to avoid getting a surface piercing on your hands, forearms, shins or stomach. Keep piercings under two inches long to allow for proper drainage, and place it on an area that does not experience a lot of motion. BMEzine recommends drawing a line on your skin where you want the piercing to go and then moving the area as much as possible. If the line stays straight no matter how much you contort your skin, then it's a viable location for a surface piercing. Piercing on areas where the skin is tight is another bad idea because this puts excessive pressure on the piercing. The sternum piercing shown here is an example of this.