Now, I know that by saying this I'm going to get yelled at AGAIN. Every time I bring up medical concerns people assume that somehow I'm twisting medical research to suit some personal agenda… But this is something quite important that anyone with a hard implant on top of bone (ie. horn implants, sternum implants, hand implants, etc.) should know about — bone resorption. When I have more time I'll write about it for the glossary, but I'll quickly summarize:
- If your implant is resting on top of bone, it will erode it over time.
- The harder the implant, the more it will erode the bone (ie. silicone gel does not erode, silicone erodes a little, and hard implants like Teflon and steel erode a lot).
- Having your bone erode isn't really a good idea.
Now like I said every time I mention anything like this I'm accused of attacking people doing these procedures. It's not that at all. I'm just asking that the people doing these procedures start to actually educate themselves so they can work safely and responsibly. Not doing so is serious professional negligence. If you hurt someone, you'll lose a career-ending lawsuit, and if you kill someone, you'll be up on felony murder.
I have a lot of friends that are body modification artists. Most of them fall into this “underground” world, but a small number of well-respected plastic surgeons and very legitimate doctors. We do occasionally talk about these procedures, and if a far more educated and experienced person mentions these things, I don't feel bad in passing them on.
So please: I know there are a lot of people reading this who either do implants or who want to get them. My advice:
- Artists: Educate yourself thoroughly. This is moving into territory that can not be safely learned through trial and error.
- Clients: Educate yourself as if you were doing the procedure. Don't trust that the artist is an expert; most are not, and they won't tell you that they're not.
- Play it safe: Don't get a procedure just because it's cool. Don't get a procedure just because it's bigger or more extreme. Figure out what you want, and think long and hard about the safest way to do it. Analyze the risks, and be very sure you still want it.
PS. Bone resorption is just one of a zillion risks of course, and won't happen in every case. Check out any plastic surgery page online and they'll tell you all about them — doctors are legally required to inform you of all the risks, whereas body modification artists are totally unregulated…