Dr. Parag Telang, Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon, SL Raheja Hospital- A Fortis Associate
Nowadays there is an increasing trend to get piercings and tattoos which are done in various areas of the body. Perceiving a certain body image for oneself has become a new trend.It is common to get requests for piercing to be done of the belly-button (navel), nipples, tongue, ear rims, and even private parts such as the Labia (female genitalia). The trend is probably associated with some social media celebrities who flaunt such piercings on their body; it can even be stemmed from the fact that my peers have gone in for it, so should I!
Tattoos continue to be in vogue; from religious symbols to names of lovers and relatives, to intricate designs of flowers and poetic verses. People get tattoos for many reasons, artistic freedom, to commemorate a personal experience or self-expression. However, sometimes patients arrive with a request for the opposite i.e. removal of piercings or tattoos from their body. Some professions such as the aviation industry, merchant navy, etc. do not allow their recruits to have any tattoos or piercings on their body. Hence, those with such marks or piercings on their body need to undergo cosmetic surgery to remove them.
How do we cosmetically remove piercings?
Piercings are embedded in the skin and it is required to remove the Micro Dermal Anchor which lies under the skin. This can be removed by a small procedure, performed under local anesthesia, where the skin is cut and removed; the scar tissue is cut and the dermal piercings are detached.
Care post removal procedure:
- Ensure you visit an expert for such procedures. Never attempt to do these yourself or get done from a quack, it can cause major infection or scarring
- Following expert advice on the steps recommended for after-care is of utmost importance
- Wait for atleast 3-4 hours before removing the bandage; clean it with mild soap and water and apply an anti-septic ointment (doctor’s recommendation) after patting the area dry
- Air is the best thing which speeds up the healing process. Ensure the bandage is not re-applied immediately
- Stay away from products that might cause irritation or itching, that your skin becomes sensitive to
- Avoid going into swimming pools or going to the beach during this period, salt water and chlorine can impact healing and cause inflammation and infection
How do we cosmetically remove tattoos?
For tattoo removals, the options range from skin grafting to laser treatments. Laser treatments need to be done at 3 week intervals, with about 5-6 sittings; these are generally safe.
Care post treatment:
Proper care is essential to prevent infections, reduce the chances of change in skin texture and other side effects
- 24hrs after getting piercings or tattoos done, are crucial since redness, swelling or bruising occurs. Apply a cold compress and keep that part of the body elevated to reduce the onset of inflammation
- Avoid hot showers, saunas and hot tubs
- Apply anti-septic ointments or powders as directed by the doctor
- Avoid venturing into the sea or swimming pools till the area heals as it can increase chances of infection due to salt and chlorine
- Always keep the area clean and dry during the healing process. Wash the area with an anti-bacterial soap as advised
- Do not scratch or pop blisters; this can leave scars. Continue to apply topical antibiotics prescribed by the doctor
- Avoid shaving the particular area till it heals completely
- Drink sufficient amount of water and liquids to keep yourself hydrated, this is the best option for your skin.
Do not hesitate to consult your doctor if infection persists. Self-medication and treatment can only enhance the infection site.