Warning – pictures have a bit of blood, so if that makes you queasy, you might want to go back.
Once I had decided that getting subdermal magnetic implants was something I wanted to have done, I had to find someone to do it. I settled on Steve Hayworth, a body-modification artist based out of Phoenix. Steve is the man who first pioneered magnetic implants 10 years ago, and has since done hundreds of these procedures. By far the most experienced man for the job, and I felt, the safest option. Even better, he often travels around the country to reach people outside of Arizona. So, I waited until he came around to my state, and signed up. Cost for the two magnets: $350.
I met him at a nearby tattoo shop, said hi, and chatted a bit.1 We walked into a clean, neat back room, he explained the procedure, and I said we were good to go.
Did it hurt? Well, yes. Because this is a procedure that happened in a tattoo shop, a local anesthetic to numb the area is out of the question. But it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be – Steve can do amazing things with ice.
Here’s the procedure, click on the images for full captions.
Once the needle was through and the second stitch firmly knotted, Steve cut off the excess thread and held it up. “Suturing needles are made of high-carbon steel,” he said, dangling the bit of curved metal near the tip of my finger. It hung in the air, getting closer until it swung over and stuck to the edge of my finger. He smiled. “Your first magnetic experience.” I looked at it and grinned.
Once everything was done and bandaged up, I had some rules to follow so that my magnets didn’t reject:
- Clean the wound and change bandages every day. He recommended a product called H2Ocean, which is used to keep tattoos and piercings clean. I couldn’t find any locally, so I looked at the ingredients and ended up doing saline soaks followed by a dab of neosporin on the bandage. Worked for me.
- Keep all pressure off the fingers for 3 days. After that, I could use them lightly for things like typing.
- After 7 days I could remove the stitches.
- I could not play with the magnets for 30 days. No moving them around, and definitely no touching permanent magnets. The magnets in my fingers could easily be pulled out from the attractive force, ripping right through the thin healing skin. During this time, the body is healing the skin, regrowing nerves, and encapsulating the magnets like it does any foreign body. After 30 days I was good to go.2
- After 6 months, the internal scar tissue and encapsulation will break down and reabsorb into the body, leaving me with my maximum sensitivity.
And that was it! The actual procedure was quick (less than 2 minutes per finger), easy, and more painless than I had expected.
1. Steve was great – his friendly, energetic, and completely unassuming demeanor really helped put me at ease. At one point int the conversation he slowed down, and commented that he noticed that I didn’t have any previous mods. “I’m treating this like a tattoo,” I said, “and my personal rule is that I have to have liked a design for a full year before I let myself get it. Hasn’t happened yet, but I’ve wanted this for about a year and a half so I’m giving it the green light.” Steve’s face lit up. “I’m the same way! Except my time is two years.” He talked about how he didn’t get his first tattoo until he was 26, years after he started working as a piercer. It was nice to hear that affirmation, but I was especially pleased that he screened me to make sure I actually wanted to do it.