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Transdermal implants are a form of body modification that can be described as a cross between a standard piercing and a subdermal implant. Like standard implants, they are placed under the skin. However, in the case of transdermals, a portion of the implant is allowed to pass through the skin so that it is both under and above the skin simultaneously. Thus, the name transdermal.

The implant itself is usually made from titanium and looks much like a figure eight with a bar coming out of the center at a ninety degree angle.

The procedure involves creating a small incision near the desired site. The skin is then lifted, causing it to separate from the tissue beneath it, in order to allow for the implant to be passed underneath. A small circle of the skin above the implant is removed with a dermal punch, allowing the top of post (anywhere from 5 to 10mm) to be exposed. The skin around the post heals much like a standard piercing, forming a fistula, or healed tunnel of skin. The tissue underneath the skin heals through the holes in the bottom of the post, thus anchoring the implant securely. For this reason, transdermal implants are extremely difficult to remove, and should be regarded as a permanant modification. The end result is what appears to be a single stud resting on the surface of the skin. The post may be internally threaded in order to screw on additional jewellery components.

Transdermals can be placed almost anywhere on the body provided the site does not receive constant pressure or movement. The forehead, face, arms, and chest are among the more popular sites for transdermals. Transdermals can be used to create a number of effects. For example, when placed high on either side of the forehead, pieces of jewellery attached to the posts can create the illusion of horns. When placed down the back, they can create a spinal appearance. A row of transdermals placed down the middle of the head can even create what appears to be a metal mohawk!

This procedure is extremely technical and requires an experienced practitioner with the proper knowledge to use the necessary tools. The correct placement of the implant is crucial to its success, and close attention must be paid to ensure that all implements remain sterile. Work done by an inexperienced practitioner may result in excessive scarring, infection, or rejection of the implant.

A strict aftercare regimen is also required in order to keep bacteria out of the wound, to allow it to drain, and to prevent infection.

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