Piercings: Techniques and Complications

  • Christa De Cuyper
  • Maria Luisa Pérez-Cotapos S.
  • Roberto Cullen


With the increasing popularity of body piercing, not only piercers but also healthcare professionals should be aware of the potential risks of this procedure and be able to recognize and handle complications. More in particular young adolescents represent a vulnerable group of customers. Risks of the procedure are bleeding, swelling, infection, and contact dermatitis caused by nickel allergy. Blood-borne diseases can be transmitted; granuloma, scarring, and keloid formation can occur. Oral piercings can damage the gums and teeth and interfere with medical interventions. Genital piercings can cause discomfort and even lead to sterility. Public awareness, good guidelines, and uniform regulation can help to minimize complications.


Piercing Dermal anchor Flesh tunnel Stretching Nickel allergy Keloid Granuloma 



This chapter was realized with the contribution of Davy D’hollander, Tek Tik, Antwerpen, Belgium who provided piercing material illustrations.

Kim Maertens, Inksane, Roeselare, Belgium, demonstrated the piercing procedure for video recording.

Elayne Angel, Merida, Mexico provided illustrations.

Supplementary material

162088_2_En_5_MOESM1_ESM.mp4 (239.9 mb)
Video 5.1 Piercing procedure (Courtesy of Dr. De Cuyper and Kim Martens, Belgium) (MP4 245684 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christa De Cuyper
    • 1
    • 2
  • Maria Luisa Pérez-Cotapos S.
    • 3
  • Roberto Cullen
    • 4
  1. 1.DermatologyBlankenbergeBelgium
  2. 2.AZ Sint-Jan Brugge-Oostende AVBruggeBelgium
  3. 3.Department of DermatologyClinica Las Condes, University of ChileSantiagoChile
  4. 4.PgDip in Biostatistics and Health Data AdministrationSantiagoChile

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