Founder of Body Beyond Modification, Conrad Francis Feldman.
Founder of Body Beyond Modification, Conrad Francis Feldman.
Picture: Dimpho Maja
Picture: Dimpho Maja
Surface anchors on a finger.
Surface anchors on a finger.
Body modification has become the "in thing". Most people have moved away from labelling it as “demonic”, seeing that more and more people are embracing it ... using it as a way to communicate and express themselves.

Recently, we’ve seen a lot of people transitioning from wearing normal rings to implants.

We chatted to Conrad Francis Feldman, a professional body modification artist and managing director of Beyond Body Modification. He specialises in genital piercing and various other modification procedures and told us more about “engagement piercings”, which are implants that some people are getting, instead of a traditional ring.

What is an implant?

Implantation is when a foreign object is inserted under a layer of skin to create a specific look on the surface. There are two types of implants, sub-dermal and trans-dermal implants.

Triple surface anchors. 

What is the difference between a sub-dermal and trans-dermal implant?

A sub-dermal implant is when a three-dimensional (3D), biocompatible material object is implanted completely below the skin layer. This is done by making a small incision with a scalpel near to, but not at the site of the final resting place of the implant. Then an instrument, most commonly a dental spatula, is used to elevate the skin layer as well as separate it from the connective tissue below. The implant is then carefully placed inside the pocket under the skin and the incision is sutured and closed.

A trans-dermal implant, also known as surface anchor, is a combination of a sub-dermal implant and pocketing.

Most trans-dermal jewellery pieces consist of some type of footplate, usually with holes in it to allow the tissue to grow through and anchor the plate.

It also has a shaft that travels upwards, at a 90 degree angle, through the skin layer to the surface of the skin.

The procedure is almost exactly the same as it is with a sub-dermal implant, however, before the jewellery is introduced to the pocket, a hole is made at the precise location of where the exit of the shaft is to be.

This is achieved with a dermal punch. By using the spatula in the pocket as a backing, this protects the underlying tissues from being damaged by the dermal punch.

Once the hole is made, the jewellery is then inserted into the pocket with the shaft exiting the freshly punched hole. The incision is often made a few inches away from the site, which is closed with a suture.

Trans-dermal implant on a finger. 

What are some of the pros and cons of getting implants?

Sub-dermal implants are rarely troublesome and, with the right after-care procedure, will usually heal without any complications.

Trans-dermal implants, unlike sub-dermal implants, have a lot more associated risks.

With a trans-dermal implant, an entrance is made from the surface of the skin to below the skin and so this presents the possibility of infection, if after-care procedures are not adhered to. Some trans-dermal Implants never completely heal.

This, unfortunately comes down to an individual’s body. It is up to the individual to decide if the risk is acceptable or not.

How can one avoid the risks that come with implants?

You have to find a professional. Don’t take any chances and make sure you are pierced with a needle and not a gun. Also, follow the after-care procedures correctly.

Tiny surface anchor. 

If I get an implant and, after some time,no longer want it, how do I remove it?

First and foremost, don’t try removing it yourself. This is why it is advisable to get an implant done by a professional, so that when you no longer want it, you can always go back and have it removed. Don’t go to a doctor either, because he or she might just cut your finger. Always go back to the person who did it because he or she knows exactly what to do.

* Feldman has always been fascinated by body modification. He was trained by master piercer Eddie Graham and has since then built a name for himself as one of the best body modifiers. Stay connected with Feldman via Instagram @beyond_body_mod.