Micro Dermal Anchors - Step by Step Photo Experience

01
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Prepping the Skin

Prepping the skin for dermal anchors
Prepping the skin.

I was really intrigued when I first heard about micro dermal anchors and the more I learned about them, the more I knew I wanted at least one. It took me a while to decide exactly where to put them, but I finally settled on using a couple to accentuate my chest tattoo.

In this photo, Kristen - my awesome piercer at Metamorphosis in Broad Ripple (Indianapolis), Indiana - is cleaning the skin to prepare it for my dermal anchors.

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Marking the Skin for Anchor Location

Marking the skin for dermal anchors
Marking the Skin.

Here you see Kristen marking my skin for placement. This way I was able to see exactly where she planned to put them and either approve or ask her to move them. We actually experimented with a couple of different possible locations before I made a final decision.

She's using a toothpick that has been moistened with the ink from a skin scribe marker. This way the same marker point doesn't touch everyone's skin so it's safe from cross-contamination risk.

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Micro Dermal Anchor Jewelry Before Placement

Micro dermal anchor jewelry
Dermal anchor jewelry before placement.

Here's what the jewelry looks like before it's placed in the skin. The flat part with the holes in it is the anchor that actually goes under the skin. The post that sticks out is what the screw head or gem attaches to.

Once the skin has healed and the anchor is firmly in place, the screw heads or gems can be replaced to create a whole new look.

04
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Creating the Pocket in the Skin

Piercing the skin for dermal anchor
Inserting the needle to create a pocket for the anchor.

Kristen used a 10 gauge piercing needle to break through the skin and create a pocket for the anchor to be inserted into. This part is very much like getting any surface piercing - it's quick but somewhat painful until the needle finally "pops" through the skin. Once it's through, there's very little pain.

Update: I knew that Kristen hadn't done a lot of these piercings and was basically still in the experimental stage, so I was a willing guinea pig. Since having this done with the needle, I have learned that a dermal punch actually does a better job and usually results in quicker healing. If you're going to get this procedure done, ask them to do it with a dermal punch instead of a needle. That may sound scary or traumatic, but check out this video: Dermal Punch Microdermal

05
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The Needle is Through the Skin

Piercing Needle Through the Skin
This is as far as the needle goes into the skin.

In contrast to a surface piercing, the needle doesn't continue on - this is as far as it goes. And then the needle is removed so that the anchor can be placed inside the pocket it created.

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The anchor is ready for placement

Dermal anchor ready for placement
The "foot" or anchor is ready for placement.

Here's a closeup of the anchor - forceps are used to hold it secure. As you can see, the gem top is already attached to the anchor. It's not necessary to place the anchor first and then screw on the gem like with some other piercings.

07
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Inserting the Anchor Below the Skin

Placing the anchor under the skin
Placing the anchor under the skin.

This part was actually more painful than breaking the skin with the needle, but it was over very quickly. The anchor is held in a vertical position to allow the end to slide into the slit made by the needle, but then it is pushed in a curved direction until the entire anchor is under the skin and parallel to the surface.

08
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One Successfully Completed Micro Dermal Anchor

Completed anchor placement
One anchor successfully in place.

Here it is! One successfully completed micro dermal anchor piercing. From the few that I have observed and the ones I got, I have noticed there is a tendency toward more bleeding with these than with normal piercings. After both anchors were in place, Kristen and I just chatted it up for another 10-15 minutes while she continued to sop up blood leakage. It continued to bleed a little bit even after we left the shop. But, it eventually stopped after about 30 minutes.

09
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Anchor Number Two

Inserting dermal anchor
Inserting the second dermal anchor.

Since I had opted for two dermals this trip, Kristen is now creating the pocket for the second anchor. In a way it hurt a little more because I was already feeling sore from the first one, but at the same time it was easier because I knew what to expect. Again, it was over very quickly. A couple cringes and a tight clench of the teeth and it was done!

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My New Micro Dermal Anchors

Two new micro dermal anchors
Two completed micro dermal anchor implants.

And here they are! As I already mentioned, they bled for a while, so that's why they're still dripping a bit. They also bruised slightly around the gem and the redness from the bruising was still evident 3 days after my piercing, but they looked great. I got several compliments on them and I love how they added to my tattoo.

Update: As I mentioned earlier, I do think that getting these done with a dermal punch would be better than with the needle, even though I know plenty of people who have had them done successfully both ways. Personally, this location and my body has not worked out well for me in the long run and both of them have migrated, one rejected so far and I anticipate losing the second one eventually. I have noticed that I usually manage to do some kind of damage to them during the night when I sleep.

That's one of the risks you take with body piercings; a lot of them migrate and reject and you end up with scarring as a result. To me, that's not a big deal but if it is to you, you might not want to take the chance. But many people have successfully healed these piercings and they really are beautiful. I will try again and I still recommend them.