I implanted this evening

edited February 2015 in Procedures
You may have read my plan in my other thread.  Tonight, I did it.

The person who was going to be assisting me backed out 15 minutes before I was set to start, so it was a solo operation.  Two people observed part of the process, and I decided against anyone filming (sorry, it was becoming too much of a spectacle for my liking and I didn't want it to be that).  I used the method laid out by @Cassox in his blog with a few minor variations, the major difference being that I did not do a digital nerve block.  In fact, I did nothing for pain (more on that later).

It was my intention to do all four, but being that this was my first attempt, I botched the first finger (left index).  Pocketed probably too shallow and ultimately ended up cutting right through the far side of the pocket.  Undaunted, I bandaged the finger and moved on to the middle finger.  Things went much more smoothly, though it took longer than I expected.  Suturing for the first time was interesting (and dare I say fun?).  Then digits 4 and 5.  Finished up about 45 minutes ago and feel like a million bucks.  When the index finger heals, I'll go back to it much more confidently and get it implanted.

So, here are my pointers for anyone attempting self implantation:
  • Doing it without anything to numb the pain is not as bad as you might imagine.  It hurts like fuck, of course, but not so badly that you can't do it.  A number 15 scalpel is well shaped for the procedure and though I had numerous other implements on hand, I didn't need them.  That #15 does the trick.  The pain itself is far sharper than I originally pictured, but it almost feels like a burn more than a cut.  Just stay calm and take your time.  It isn't a race.  Does it hurt more going slowly?  I'm sure that it does, and probably by a fair bit, but I've decided that precision is worth the pain.  I'm sure you've watched the Lepht Anonym videos if you've researched implants at all, and she doesn't repeatedly say it hurts for no reason.
  • Even with a scalpel, the pocketing incision is harder to make than I expected.  Frankly, the tissue just doesn't want to separate.  I did this in a very controlled manner after I messed up the first one, and as I slowly cut, there were actual tiny audible pops periodically as I deepened and widened the pockets.  At first, only I could hear it, but one person there was able to hear them after I told them to listen for it.  The initial incision is very easy to make, though, so that's a plus.
  • Sutures were also harder to do than I expected.  I found the knotting to be easy to do (do make sure you read how to do a surgeon's knot; they seem very sturdy).  What is hard is pushing the needle through the flesh.  Your tissue is tougher than you might imagine.  Curved needles are a must, and a tool to grip the needle is mandatory.  You need to apply more force than your fingers can apply while gripping a needle.  For the record, I used 3-0 nylon suture with a curved cutting needle.  I had wanted to use silk, but the person who was going to help had good experience with nylon in the past and wanted me to have that on hand.  Do not pull the suture too tight.  I did on my pinkie and it hurts right now because of it.  I debated doing two per finger, but one seemed adequate and I'm satisfied that it'll be fine.
  • Tourniquets do greatly reduce the blood loss, especially if you intend to take your time with it.  What I did was tourniquet the finger then squeezed as much blood as I could down back to the other side of the tourniquet, leaving me with what was basically a deathly white finger.  I initially did a cut and being concerned that the lack of blood was obscuring my ability to tell if I was deep enough (even the underlying tissue was very pale), I pulled the tourniquet and blood immediately began to pour out making it even harder to see the depth.  Do not pull the tourniquet until you've sutured and bandaged.  It makes the process far less messy.  The tourniquet does provide some small bit of pain relief, I guess, but it would take longer than I'd care to leave a finger tourniqueted to eliminate the pain.
  • Insertion of the magnet was pretty easy.  I simply picked each one up and slid it into the pocket without use of a tool.  Well, not entirely without a tool, I guess.  I had some very large sterilized needles on hand as one of my "just in case" tools and I actually used one of those by sticking the needle to the magnet like you would a paperclip to a healed implant and dragged the needle across the outside of the pocket to pull the magnet to the very bottom of said pocket.  Worked well.
  • After-procedure pain is minimal, even this short time out from completion.  There is some throbbing, and the too-tight stitch on one finger is making that one hurt more than the others.  I am taking ibuprofen on the advice of @Cassox (for both pain and to reduce swelling, so I'm sure that's helping, but honestly I'm typing almost normally right now with the fingers, so take that for what it's worth.

So there you have it.  If you can afford it and can get access to a professional, I'd recommend that route, but it can certainly be done by oneself.  I know there's ongoing debate about doing needle-based insertion instead of scalpel-based, but I can say that the scalpel works very well if you're careful and do your research.  And I cannot stress that part enough...  DO YOUR RESEARCH.  I actually do not recommend going the painful route as I did if you're self-implanting.  I have a decent pain tolerance and I honestly did question my decision after I really got cutting.  But I'm so very glad I did it.  The sense of accomplishment is overwhelming right now, to be honest.  I feel very proud that I was able to do this myself and in this way, especially since I had no assistance and did four fingers in a row (though as I said, I botched the first one).

Now I just have to hope they don't reject and that I can keep them from getting infected.  My first implants are installed, though, so I get to call myself a grinder now, which is something I'm proud to be able to say.  Later this week, I'm doing an ntag, too, so this is only the beginning...



  • edited September 2014
    Welcome to the club ... And congratulations!
    Am interested to see what your "magnetic vision" is like with multiple implants.

    PS: If you thought the high from a magnet implant was good, just wait till that xNT is installed.
  • You're really going ham aren't ya? :P as soon as mine arrive i'll be doing 4 as well although not sure how the dominant hand ones are gonna work....
  • edited September 2014
    @kjwx - Thanks!  Right now I'm not really feeling fields at all (well, beyond magnetic fields around permanent magnets, but I don't want to mess with those much yet for obvious reasons), but the pain has increased a bit so that is likely masking field sensitivity.  I'll be documenting how the EM sensitivity is.  As of this moment, I have two implants on the ulnar line and one on the median (which will be upped to two when I redo the index finger in a few weeks).  It should prove interesting at the least.  And, yeah, I think the xNT will do it for me, too :).  Never had one, but I'm guessing this is similar to the high some people report after getting a tattoo.

    @drjaaz - Haha, I had to look up "going ham".  Friend of mine used to use it all the time and I never was quite sure what it meant :P.  Best of luck with your install when you get yours.  Still debating positioning or is it concern about doing the dominant hand at all?  Hoping to try cylinders in my dominant hand once the TiN-coated ones become available.
  • I let mine rest for three days before I tried any party tricks and it was five days before I was brave enough to go chat with the microwave at work. Not that it hurt but I wanted to get safely through the possible rejection period before I started putting any stress on it. Felt like a huge weight had lifted once I was all healed.
  • @aviin thank you very much for sharing your experience and advice. I will be implanting 2 magnets (digit 2 and 4) later this week and your post was very helpful!
  • You're quite welcome, @dezie_mm.  It's my goal to pass on what information I can.  I'm looking forward to hearing about your own experiences.  Very excited for you.  Best of luck to you with implanting.  It really is a rewarding experience in its own right.
  • it's more a matter of i don't think i can turn my wrist far enough to give me a good angle to work at. for whatever reason my dominant hand doesn't rotate quite as much. I'll probably try it anyway once and if it's going to shit i'll get a friend to help. and i have positioning down just fine. im doing 3 in each hand but the 3rd in each im still researching as it's going in my wrist. the others are going in my ring and pointer finger in both hands.
  • @drjaaz - Ah, I see.  I did have a bit of a rough time rotating my wrist far enough to do the little finger implant, but I got it despite the awkward angle.

    As a more general note, this morning I inspected the implant sites.  They look fantastic.  Very little redness.  No visible swelling.  There is a tiny bit of bruising near the suture entry point on digit 5 (pinkie), but again, nothing of any concern.  The fingers are feeling a bit more painful, but still nothing extraordinary, and might have something to do with how I slept last night.  Cleaned and rebandaged (and applied more Neosporin).  Another round of ibuprofen.  All in all, it's going well.

  • edited October 2014
    Figured it wouldn't hurt to drop another status update here for future readers who are researching implants.  I looked for firsthand accounts of progress and didn't find many so for the would-be grinder in 2016 looking for a firsthand account, this is for you ;).

    In the neighborhood of 48 hours out from implantation right now.  Still little to no redness.  I've been taking 800mg of ibuprofen every 6-8 hours but forgot to last night before bed and the fingers did swell a tiny bit overnight, probably from that.  It's making the stitches more painful, but only slightly so.  The incision sites look very healthy with no visible discharge.  They are likely beginning to close, though it is hard to tell.  Overall pain is negligible.  The index finger where I botched the insertion looks the worst, though it has no suture so will have a harder time healing.  I can visibly see the implant in my index finger through the skin, but that's mainly because there is a ring of blood around it.  I'm hoping that blood will get cleaned up by my body as time progresses.  If the implant remains visible, though, I'll be okay with that.  Without that blood ring, it would be barely visible at all.

    I'm feeling phantom fields, I think, fields that aren't there.  The deli case at Walmart seemed to be genuine, though even that may not have been real.  I'm not at all disappointed, of course, as feeling fields takes varying amounts of time and I know that I'm implanted at a very good depth and location on each finger.

    I did run into an issue regarding my mother, of all things.  She is appalled and has genuinely insulted me about this decision multiple times now.  I am an adult, though, and do not live with her, so there isn't too much she can say, I guess.  I'd love to be able to tell her about it, show her this amazing thing, but she just refuses to see/hear anything regarding it.  She actually flatly told me I was crazy and stupid, and that I just invented this whole thing myself.  And she refuses to look at anything that might tell her the truth.  She didn't grow up reading the likes of William Gibson, though, and can't wrap her head around it, I guess.  So if you're considering this, be aware that unless you've already got family that either accept things like body modification or can appreciate technology, they may react badly.  It's sad, actually.  But there's little more I can say or do.  With time, she'll come around.

    On a positive note, a package arrived from Dangerous Things today; my ntag.  I debated installing that this evening but decided to wait a day or two.  Just seems prudent to get the incisions closed before I introduce another to the same hand.  I won't wait too long, though.  I tried like hell to get the tag to read with a couple NFC-enabled smart phones while still in the injector and had no luck, but I gather that's not unusual.  Anyone have any experience with trying to read one inside an injector?
  • I haven't tried reading one inside the injector, but I HAVE tried reading it inside my hand. I don't know if it's because it seems to be actually awkwardly deep possibly, or if it's just the nature of the range, but I have to really press my hand up close to my s4 to pick it up. It could be that the amount of space between the tag and reader just isn't close enough.
  • Nice! I have no idea what you mean by that popping sound though! Has anyone else experienced that? In terms of sensing fields, my first magnet implant which was a parylene N48 or something. It was as least a month before I really got a good "field" impression. I mean, obviously you can feel the thing move in your finger but there's another effect later on so don't sweat it if the effect isn't super impressive at first.
  • It is not possible to read a tag inside the injector 'cause it is inside the needle. NFC Tags work by electromagnetic induction, so metal can easily interfere with their operation. NFC Tags can never work behind metal and if placed directly onto metal. Don't worry, Amal test every single xNT before it is shipped, so he can assure the tag is working.

    And yeah, the working range of xNT tags is very small, but cellphones doesn't have strong readers either. Try to read them with a dedicated, USB tag reader, like ACR122U.
  • edited October 2014
    @BirdMachine - Tried an s3 and s5 with no luck, but what @ramon_souza
    says makes sense and explains it (thanks for the info @ramon_souza!)

    @Cassox - I'm not at all worried about the fields.  It'll come, I know. 
    Regarding the popping sound, I'm sort of guessing it's related to the
    collagen fibers springing back under the tension they're under as they
    hold the tissue layers together, sort of like a rubber band snapping
    back after being snipped.  It was a faint sound, but since I was
    obviously so close to it, I could hear it easily.  The other person
    there who could hear it leaned in very close just to try to hear and was
    able to.  I hadn't seen mention of it anywhere so I figured I'd note
    it.  More of a curiosity than anything useful :)

    Oh, and as a general update, right this second I have virtually no pain and that bit
    of swelling I mentioned a few hours ago seems to be reducing.  So all in
    all, I'm very happy with the world.  Might do the ntag tomorrow.  We'll
    see...  But for now, a round of ibuprofen and time for bed, I think.
  • @aviin I know exactly what you are talking about with the popping. It didn't happen when I made the incision, only when I was clearing out a pocket for the magnet to rest under the skin. I found it quite painful and disconcerting! As for the fields, I believe I implanted a day before you and am just now able to pick up some EMFs, I can feel them on a fan as well as on a power supply for my laptop. It gives your finger a nice little buzz when you get close... Thanks for the update! Keep them coming!
  • I'm just going to throw my experience on this thread real quick...

    Implanted two days ago. Cutting through the initial layers of skin was pretty hard although I only had a straight edge disposable scalpel to work with vs. a curved blade which probably would've made things much easier. I also work on cars and do construction so the callouses probably made things more difficult also. I used the same scalpel to carve out a nice niche for the magnet which wasn't too hard. I didn't use any sutures and instead opted for steri-strips initially and moved on to surgical glue after a day when the wound seemed a little more secure although at nights I still coat it with triple antibiotic and wrap with gauze. My main concern now is that without a suture to physically prevent it, the magnet will migrate to the entrance of my cut...time will have to tell because I can't currently locate the magnet using pressure(not recommended for a healing wound) or by pressing my finger against a bright light to illuminate the innards and the natural pain blocks my perception at the initial incision site for now. But when I first implanted the magnet, it was deep enough that I couldn't see it by pulling my cut open. Very little swelling so far, and the only pain comes from direct pressure against the wound. No EM field perception yet which is to be expected this early on but I've picked up plenty of paperclips and amazed many nieces/nephews. Barring rejection due to depth or migration I think the whole procedure went great. Thanks @Cassox and @glims for the properly coated magnet, it's just one more issue that doesn't need to be worried about.
  • MattGuy*: My magnet successfully healed without sutures. I probably worried about it rejecting 1000% more than was necessary; it kind of felt like I was holding my breath for the first month or so until I was certain the wound had healed. However, my piercer did recommend that I act as if he'd stitched the implant site, so no getting it wet for the first week etcetera.

    Justilew, Aviin & MattGuy*: Would love to see photos of your new implants.

    Aviin*: To get an idea on your tag's read range, try wrapping it in raw chicken skin before you bring the reader up to it. Thin pork skin will also work in a pinch.

    Some days the cheap Nokia Lumia I bought to use with my xNT reads perfectly every time I scan it; other times it takes several goes to successfully line up the antenna with my chip. Am planning to sell my iPhone once I upgrade to the new 6 model next month so that I can also buy an s4 or s5 for NFC tasks. Would I be better looking at another Android handset altogether, though?

    * Apologies for not linking to you three directly; am posting from my mobile as I head to work.

  • I know the Galaxy phones use an NFC radio that doesn't work with all chips, but the HTC One M7 has more compatibility - like with Amal's xM1 chip. Not sure what radio is used in the One M8, though.
  • edited October 2014
    @kjwx I'm glad to hear I'm not the only that worried about it without stitches and glad to hear yours worked out. The liquid bandage(with antiseptic) does a great job of keeping the wound dry and clean while I'm moving around during the day. I'm trying to give it some air when I get home, then a dab of triple antibiotic and gauze wrap for the night.

    The incision is the marking on the left. That white skin in the middle is just a loose flap from the scalpel slipping when I first broke the skin, the little red marking on the right is a broken blood vessel presumably from the same slip. My actual deep cut was directed at almost the exact angle the picture was taken just aimed a little more towards the center of my finger. 

  • MattGuy: That's exactly what I did. Started off with 20 minutes of airtime, then increased it by day.
  • @kjwx Here are a couple shots. There really isn't much to see though its pretty much healed now... imageimage
  • I'm jealous of how fast you guys are healing.  I'd be very afraid to pull my sutures yet.  No major issues as of right now for me.  Had a scare when someone stepped on my hand yesterday afternoon (yeah, it really happened...  worst part, the person did it on purpose...).  My fingers feel very good this evening, though there's some bruising now on my middle finger.  My ring finger has a little swelling, too, which is not cool but it seems to be healing fine.  I'll try to get some pics up tomorrow of the implants.  Still not detecting fields, but I'm being patient.

    As I sit here thinking about it, my index finger looks very good (the botched one) and it has no stitch.  I am almost beginning to think the stitches might not be the way to go, since that finger almost seems like its healing faster.  Neither of you two used sutures, right?  Hmmm...

    I did the ntag this evening as well.  Very simple and easy with the kit from Dangerous Things.  Very little pain on insertion, but boy is that needle daunting for someone who has never had a piercing; it's huge :).  I'm super pleased with the location and alignment.  Assuming it travels back up the tunnel the needle made about the distance that @Amal's guide says it will, it'll end up centered right where it should be.  I had the assistance of a friend of mine.  He held the skin "tented" while I inserted the needle and injected.  There's a very visceral "pop" as the needle breaks the skin, which made both other people in the room with me cringe, but that added to the fun :P.  When I had the needle through the skin, I asked the person assisting me to release the skin so I could better see where the needle was.  Got it into the correct position and started backing the needle out as I injected.  Unlike what the guide says, I could not really see the tag as I injected it, but the plunger clicked as described and I pulled the needle out and applied gauze and pressure.  The plunger moved fluidly through the whole process (I've seen a few people around the net say that those type of injectors don't slide easily, but I have no complaints).  I downloaded DangerousNFC to secure the lock bits, and that went off without a hitch.  I'd love to try to lock the tag just to see what happens now that those bits are set, but I'm too chicken to try.  The tag reads really easily with my Samsung Galaxy S3, which is a bit of a relief as I'd read that Samsung phones aren't really the best phones out there for these types of tags.  And, yes, I know my phone is a dinosaur and I should upgrade :).

    After I get the sutures removed from digits 3, 4, and 5, I'll go back and redo digit 2.  So 4 implants right now, soon to be 5.  Now if only I could get southpaw and a timekeeping device of some kind to implant...  I'm addicted to this, I think...
  • No sutures here... I have been placing a very small magnet on my finger opposite the incision site. I leave it there over night to try to pull the magnet away from the wound. Maybe that helps?
  • Before I go to bed, figured I'd mention that I felt a field a few moments ago.  Electric hair clippers.  From several centimeters away, the feeling was intense while they were switched on.  I'd be afraid to actually touch the clippers with my left hand until I'm all healed.  That was, well, wow...
  • If you are using the m31, we don't recommend attaching a magnet to your finger over night, even a small one. You will be giving your self micro dmaage fro the constant pressure. Seal the wound either with sutures or hospitalgrade glue, even steristrips.  It's important that you let the site heal instead of exposing it to stressors for the first couple weeks. 
  • My current take on sutures etc.: It's best practice for the first 3-5 days. Neither steristrips or dermabond is going to be able to keep the wound positioned appropriately allowing it to heal by primary intention if you so much as accidentally press something hard. After 3-5, (and I shy towards 3) pull the suture and use steristrips.

    This doesn't mean that you can't heal up without a suture of course, but the wound edges should be closed by day 3 for sure (more like 24 hours for many. Using something like dermabond alone increases the likelihood of pulling the wound back open. This is bad. It's worse than the initial incision really as your modifying how your body is choosing to heal the wound. More scar tissue, more likelihood of both rejection and infection, etc.
  • Word of advice: do not leave another magnet attached to any implanted magnet for longer than a few minutes. As glims said the constant pressure will result in microdamage - specifically, it pinches the tissue causing it to die or otherwise be damaged, which greatly increases the chances of rejection. Just let the wound heal, and for scar tissue to form between your implant and the wound site. The scar tissue will be enough to keep your implant stable.

    Most implants (of any kind) tend to migrate a little from their original implantation site. If you wish to compensate for that, you can use tape and bandages to apply a constant pressure to an implant in a lateral direction. Magnets only pull the implants up and out.
  • edited October 2014
    My bad guys... I stopped attaching the secondary magnet to my finger. It is all healed now though. Thanks for the advise!
  • edited October 2014
    Thats funny though justilew, I was doing the exact same thing, but only held it on my fingernail for 30 seconds every once in a while with the same idea but came to the same conclusion that it would be bad for the tissue surrounding my implanted magnet even with such short periods.

    edit: Also meant to say that Cassox has a point about the initial healing, Dermabond adhesive doesn't let the tissue it is attached to move in any way so unless it dries in the perfect position it'll be detrimental to the healing process, also...removing that stuff is a real pain..you either rip it off as a sheet which can bring some skin along with, or spend 45 minutes lightly dabbing the area with fingernail polish remover to avoid re-opening the wound. I can see the appeal in sutures. 
  • edited October 2014
    I had an m31 magnet implanted by friends a month ago. Had one suture put in, and taken out three days later, and kept it wrapped in steristrips for about two weeks after that. Also took 600-800 mg of ibuprofen two or three times a day to help reduce inflammation. If you can have someone suture your implant, I definitely would, because after I had them taken out, the incision wasn't tugged on or picked at, and the skin had mostly healed. No issues with migration or rejection of the magnet either. To be honest, the surface healed ridiculously quick, but I kept it wrapped for as long as I could to keep it clean, dry, and prevent me from injuring that finger. After that it's just a matter of time for the internal swelling/scar tissue to go down. 

    Magnet's definitely more sensitive the longer it heals. Writing this is fun, because I can feel the field from the power source on my laptop, and so many little magnetic spots as I type! Everything's fun, honestly. I'm always finding/feeling something new - fields in the fridge, a friend's phone, playing with an e-cig, lifting the handles of spoons and forks... EM fields are a very pleasant vibration, almost a hum. Running it across ferrous materials, I can feel a very strong tug, feels like the magnet's twitching or flipping. Very cool. It's incredibly strong, though - take your time feeling surfaces out, because if you get too close or stay too long against some things, it can be really painful. They're not kidding about damaging tissues or nerves with other magnets. I'd say I can feel things out to an inch, which is fantastic. Have fun, guys! 
  • I've been away for a bit, but wanted to check back in with some unfortunate news.  As of this evening, the last of my m31s was removed.  Here's how this came to be.

    7-8 days after implantation, I removed my sutures.  At this point, everything seemed to be going okay.  A few days later, the tissue directly over the implant in my middle finger began to, I guess, die.  The implant was the shallowest of the three and still visibly had blood around it.  The incision was healed shut, but it simply was too shallow and for whatever reason, I think that the overlying tissue of the pocket did not have adequate bloodflow.  Within a day of my initial concern, the surface skin all around where the magnet was began to start separating and peeling off.  Being concerned, I decided to remove the implant.  Within a couple days, the site began healing normally.  It still isn't 100% yet, but it'll be fine shortly.

    During this time, the implant in my pinkie seemed to be migrating closer and closer to the initial incision site.  The wound was healed shut, but the implant was literally forcing its way out.  I decided to, much to my chagrin, remove it when it reached a point where it was visible pushing against the skin at the incision site.

    I thought the ring finger implant was going to be okay, but it ultimately migrated in much the same way as the one in my pinkie.  This evening, I removed it.

    I'm pretty bummed about the whole thing.  I do intend to reimplant in short order (including the originally botched index finger).  The implants all look pristine and after soaking (and scrubbing) them in chlorhexadine again, I feel that they'll be fine to reimplant.

    I do wonder what went wrong, though, with the pinkie and ring finger implants.  I'd be inclined to think my body just simply won't accept a foreign body, but my xNTi implant healed perfectly and did not move at all (it didn't migrate even a single millimeter as near as I can tell).  It's almost like other than the surface healing, the pocket only healed from the bottom upward and was able to push the implant along the way.  It makes me half-heartedly wish I had a parylene coating over the titanium nitride for the tissue-bonding effect that parylene has to help prevent it from moving up the pocket during healing.

    Any input here would be hugely appreciated.  I'm feeling something bordering on distraught over this and want this next attempt to go smoothly.   I feel like I lost something this evening and I hate that feeling.
Sign In or Register to comment.