How *Not* to do an implant

edited February 2017 in Procedures

Every once in awhile a thread appears that relays some incredibly stupid actions within the realm of biohacking. This is one of those threads.
I am going to tell you all of the mistake that I made. This is for educational purposes and I am fully aware of the terrible things that I have done.

Pictures of the healing process

This past November I implanted the FlexNT from Cyberise. Some of you may remember my attempt at making an injector like device for such an implant. It ultimately failed but I intend to design a mk2 in the coming months. You can read more about that here. 

Mistake #1: Not having the proper tools.
I did not mention this previously but I actually attempted the procedure twice. One of the first mistakes that I had made was keeping my spare lido in a syringe that I had used for a previous implant. I knew that this was a bad idea but I did not know how to store it and did not want to spend another 50 dollars. I kept it in the syringe and would then take of the needle and keep it in a plastic bag. I would then attempt to sterilize the already previously used needles in a the typical chlorhexidine-isopropyl mixture. This was incredibly stupid I know. However I am young and very impatient. I figured that it would be okay. I was wrong. When I tried to perform the digital nerve block I realized that the needle had infact been blocked. So instead of actually injecting any lidocaine I just punched a bunch of holes in the side of my hand. Lesson: Always use clean new equipment. No matter how lazy/broke you are.

So with my first attempt foiled I had to wait until the next night. I bought some insulin needles from the pharmacy and thought I was ready to rock and roll.

Mistake #2: Premature preparation and getting frustrated 
Like I said, I went all in on my first attempt. Which also meant that I had opened the sterile sutures in preparation to stitch myself back up. That was a mistake. There was no need to have this opened before I had even started cutting, especially since I had someone there helping me. When things went south on the first attempt I got very frustrated. Once I cooled down I came back  and cleaned up a bit. That is probably when I lost the sutures. I am still not entirely sure what happened to the needle and thread but it was gone the next day. Imagine my surprise when I was ready to stitch myself up and finding out that I didn't have any sutures!! Lesson: Remain calm and cool and take care with your operation at every step of the procedure.

Mistake #3: Settling for anything less than ideal and making assumptions
The real issue with all of this was not that I was missing the sutures. It was that I had assumed that everything from the previous night was still in suitable condition for the operation. I was very wrong. I should have taken inventory and be more comprehensive in my pre-op procedure. If had done that then I would have realized that I did not in fact have a way to seal my wound. I was not aware of this until after I had cut an inserted my implant. However I have the common trait of absolute stubbornness that many people my age possess and I did not want to abort after my first failed attempt the previous night. That was a mistake. With no real way to seal the wound and I had to rely on shoddy butterfly bandages, which hardly did the job. I woke up in the middle of the night and could see the implant poking out a little bit, and I had to push it back in. In all honesty I should probably have taken it out right there and gone to the hospital to get stitched up. Lesson: Never settle during a procedure and always triple check yourself


  • (Part 2)
    Mistake #4: After care and wound maintenance
    If all of this hasn't made you cringe then I bet this will do it. The day after I did my implant there was an annual 5k walk/run in my town. I did use my better judgement and decide to walk instead of run it, but nonetheless I was still engaging in physical activity with a gaping wound in my hand. This was a mistake and should not have been attempted! I shudder at the thought of my sweaty hand in my pocket and all the dirt and contaminates that could have gotten into the wound in the process. I still actively cleaned the wound and applied triple anti-bact but that can only go so far. Later on in the healing process I would be greeted with the milky-yellowy pus that is the telltale sign of infection. More on that in a second. Lesson: Never skimp on aftercare, you will regret it.

    Mistake #5: Not knowing when to call it quits
    So the healing process took a couple of months. I had expected this due to the fact that I was unable to sew it up. I purchased some artificial coagulant and managed to create an acceptable seal with a monumental scab and a decent amount of liquid bandage. Slowly I could tell that my skin began to close around the scab and it began to elevate. However the scab never seemed like it was ready to come off cleanly or on it's own. I then accidentally ripped it off when I was getting into my car (much to my horror). I waited until I was home till I could get a good look at it. It was little bit oozy under the scab, but not to an alarming degree. What was a little alarming was that there was still a hole in my hand after the couple months of healing. Even more so was that I realized that I could actually see the edge of the implant in my hand! I should have called it quits there and went to the hospital, but I had invested many weeks of healing into this thing and I was just too damn stubborn. This post is getting pretty long so I will stop here. Final Lesson: Don't be stubborn and know when to quit

    So if you should take away anything from this, don't be dumb like me. If you ever have to question yourself on a judgment, then chances are pretty good that it is not a good decision to make. I am posting this because I don't want other people to make the same mistakes that I have. You live and you learn, and I am going to have a pretty nice scar as a result. Check out the pictures below to see some of the healing process. 

    (Also, @Chironex. I admit that I am a total dumbass :D )
  • Some pictures of the healing process

    They are in chronological order, highly recommended.

  • edited February 2017
    How is your magnet doing? Glad to here that didn't get infected comrade! What how you done for sterilization after the last picture?
  • I actually took the magnet out as well. I kept smacking it on stuff and eventually it migrated towards the surface of my skin and lost sensitivity.

    And I think it was infected. I would routinely have to squeeze out yellowish pus
  • Thank you for documenting this. 
  • @chrisbot
    That's a shame, do you think that it was do the the implant procedure or not maintaining enough after care?
  • I think it was a combination of both. Mostly the procedure though. I don't think that needle made a pocket that was big enough. I do have another magnet though. I am not sure if I will try this injection again but I will definitely putting in another magnet eventually.
  • edited February 2017
    Good to hear that, what makes you say the pocket was not large enough? Also I am glade to hear that you didn't lose any fingers or a hand doing this.
  • Great post. Sucks that you ended up having to take it out, but it's good to share failures so that others don't repeat.
  • Valuable lessons were learned. Thank you for sharing.
  • Sorry for self-thread necro.

    The implant is still in perfect working order and the coating was not compromised. As such, I would still like to implant it. Any suggestions for alternate sites?

     I am willing to cut on my scar as it still in the relatively early stages of healing (for a scar that is). Perhaps if I stitch it up this time it will actually heal better than it other wise would have.
  • Sorry for some more thread necro. I haven't been active for quite a while so I figured that I would post an update. Below you can see some pictures of the scar. (Also can we no longer embed pictures or links? Do we need to use html tags?)

  • @ChrisBot did you end up doing anything? How's the healing going?

  • @aidoneus, no I haven't done anything unfortunately. The healing will take years and I still have a nasty scar to show for it. Some day it might fade...
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