Good Form

Photos and ramblings from my daily life and being a body piercer.

Anonymous asked: Hey i have a question... so i recently got my ears pierced at a local well known piercing place. They had an autoclave and neometal jewelry and seemed professional.. however my mom (who is an anesthesiologist so she knows about how to be sterile) was watching as they did the piercing and she said that they were not sterile. They kept it clean it was definitely not a sterile procedure.. is this bad or are all piercing settings not going to be 100% sterile?

ryanpba:

No body piercing can be 100% sterile, that’s a myth. What you aim for is an aseptic technique. Meaning you’re not contaminating any items you’re working with before they are used. It’s important to understand the difference, and to have a rational expectation of what can be done outside of a surgical suite. Now I can’t speak for the piercer you’re talking about because I don’t know how the operate. 

Here’s how I would perform a piercing with three pairs of gloves, start to finish. 

  • Glove pair 1: Lay out all items to be used on your work surface. Put down a dental bib, put down prep pack, put down tools, needles, etc. Open the packages without touching the items within. Remove gloves.
  • Glove pair 2: Go into the opened prep pack, use sterilized gauze to clean the skin and area to be pierced, dry the area with another piece of gauze. Mark the piercing with a sterilized toothpick (optional, marking can also be done on next step). Remove gloves.
  • Glove pair 3: Mask off the area to pierced (if needed, preferred), mark site if desired. Pick up sterilized needle and/or jewelry from previously opened package or out of statim cassette. Perform piercing, insert jewelry, drop needle in sharps container, affix end piece on jewelry. Control any bleeding if needed. Done.

If preferred the final pair of gloves can be a sterile pair. This is up to the piercer unless it is required by law or local regulation. Even when piercing with sterile gloves the piercing still is not 100% “sterile”. That would be called a “sterile glove technique”. I teach classes on aseptic technique at the APP’s annual conference and I see huge misconceptions about what using sterile gloves means, or how to properly utilize them. Using sterile gloves in the wrong way is nothing more than a false sense of security. I pierce with non-sterile gloves, and so does the majority of the piercing industry. When you work in the proper steps you can perform an aseptic technique very easily. 

I can appreciate how someone in the medical field might be trying to critique a body piercing, I’m sure they were just looking out for you or trying ti impress you. It does bother me a bit when doctors, nurses, or other medical employees dump on professional piercing. Especially since infections in hospitals kill numerous people each year. Maybe they’re not quite as “sterile” as they’d like to think they are.