How Surgery Affects Body Piercings

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Depending on what type of procedure you are having, there may or may not be an effect on any body piercings you have. Generally, removing your piercings before surgery is a good idea, as they may increase your risk for infection and surgical burns. Below we go over how surgery affects body piercings in various types of procedures:

1. Breast Surgeries and Nipple Piercings
If you are having a simple breast augmentation and you have nipple piercings, you will want to at least switch out your metal piercings for plastic ones. This is because metal can attract the heat from the machines used during the procedure and cause unwanted burns. Make sure you swap your piercings out at least a week (if possible, longer) before surgery.

If you are having a breast lift or reduction, you will need to remove your piercings before surgery. These procedures typically involve a periareola incision (around the areola) which have a higher risk of infection than the inframammary incision (under the breast crease). The mammary ducts of the nipple are not sterile and contain endogenous flora – bacteria that lives on our skin. This bacteria can cause infections if it’s introduced into our bodies. The nipple’s mammary ducts are essentially a fast track highway from the skin’s surface to the deep breast tissue. So, a nipple piercing is just an extra liability. You will also be advised to wait around six weeks before placing the piercings back in, and around 3-6 months before getting a new nipple piercing to allow your body proper healing time and avoid an unwanted infection.

2. Liposuction and belly button piercings
If you are having liposuction along the abdominal area, you will be asked to remove the piercing before your procedure, as they can get in the way. Generally, your belly button piercing will not be affected by liposuction. However, if the liposuction leaves you with excess skin that does not have the tensile strength to uphold the weight of your piercing, you may experience some skin sagging in the area. This is not common and typically means you are a candidate for a tummy tuck.

3. Tummy Tucks and Belly Button Piercing
In most cases, your surgeon will reconstruct the belly button during a tummy tuck procedure. For this reason, you will have to remove your piercing before the procedure, and will have to re-pierce the belly button after you have healed. You should wait between 12 and 18 months to pierce your belly button after undergoing a tummy tuck.

4. Facial Piercings and Plastic Surgery
As a general rule of thumb, you should remove any and all facial piercings before undergoing plastic surgery. Tongue piercings can get in the way of anesthesia administration, and any other metal piercings can cause unwanted burns to your skin. If you have any questions about how your body piercings can be affected by you upcoming plastic surgery, be sure to ask your surgeon.