Registry of Implants - Current and Future

edited February 2015 in Community
Greetings, all.  I am a plastic surgeon specializing in peripheral nerve, hand, and microsurgery.  I believe that an increased trend towards the integration of humans and technology is inevitable and I would like to play a part in helping to bring about "elective" implantation of non-medically-necessary 'biohacking' devices in the US. 

In order for this to happen, serious discussions need to take place within the medical community about the safety of such diverse and untested implants that may be (or soon become) available, as well as the ethics of physicians (whose role has traditionally been to treat the sick) working to give preternatural abilities to otherwise healthy people. 

I would like to initiate these discussions by publishing some articles in plastic surgery journals.  To do this, it would be helpful to give the readership an idea and analysis of what active 'biohackers' are currently doing to themselves, or at least, what they are most interested in having done. 

So, you all, the community, can help me by completing an entry in this registry.  Now, I am well aware that 'registry' may be a sensitive term amongst a community of people that are highly likely to have a detailed knowledge of the X-men.... but rest assured, this is simply an anonymous listing and reporting of exactly what implants people have, why they got them, what benefits they provide, satisfaction, complications, and desires for future implants.  Your names or screen names will not be collected or published. 

Anyone who wants to help, please answer in the format below to help data collection (you can also respond with additional subjective comments if you wish).  Also, please only report implants that have some electrical, magnetic, or functional non-medical component.  For instance, no non-magnetic piercings, no medical joint replacements, breast implants, etc.

Implant #1
  • Years/months implanted
  • Location of implant; please be as anatomically specific as possible.  If it is in the hand, please say whether it is on the palm side (volar), the backside (dorsal).  For hand or finger, please indicate whether it is on the 'thumb-side' (radial) or the 'pinky-side' (ulnar) relative to the long axis of your finger.  Also please try to describe whether the implant is in bone, muscle, subcutaneous tissue, or what. 
  • Exact nature/type of implant
  • Why did you get this implant?
  • What benefits do you experience from having this implant?
  • Did you place this implant yourself?  If not, who placed it for you and what type of training did they have?
  • What complications did you experience after getting this implant (please do not list pain lasting less than 2 weeks)?  Infection?  Extrusion of the implant?  Chronic pain?  Did not experience expected benefit?  Any type of unanticipated injury to important anatomical structures?
  • Would you get this implant again if you could go back in time?

Implant #2

  • Repeat process above

Future-desired implants:

  •   Please state if you want more of the same type of implants you already have, or if you want the same implants but elsewhere in the body
  • What implants are you planning to get in the near future?
  • Will you do this yourself?  Do you have any surgical training?  If not, who will implant it? 
  • Otherwise, this section can be more free form, but please only list things that have a reasonable chance of existing based on currently available technologies.  Also, please don't list any biologically based enhancement unless you are a molecular biologist and have a reasonable understanding of how possible it is to actually implement any of these things.  For instance:  "I want gene therapy to give me glow in the dark skin" is not realistic. 
Thanks all; I look forward to your responses


  • I suggest making an off site page that allows you to have people enter all this data. You say screen names will not be visible, but I'm pretty sure we can all see the screen names here and so can anyone else who comes onto the site. Posting on this site is not anonymous for many of us.

    The delineation between medical and non medical modifications doesn't make sense imho, especially when you have breast implants listed with joint replacement. Breast implants totally are a functional non medical component.  Or what about @DirectorX, who implanted the wireless headphones partially because he is losing his sight? Does this qualify as functional and medical or ...? I feel like making these distinctions is kinda just perpetuating the concept of "things done by professionals" vs "things grinders do". I agree that a standard piercing is not worth adding to the list, but for other things if you are looking to make modifications as a whole more accepted in the medical community, shouldn't it all just be "implants and modifications"?

    Some of us have actually started to do lab testing on the various coatings and properties of the implants. Let us know what kind of information you might be looking for if any...
  • edited August 2014
    It's true that our screen names will be visible for our posts on here but since the entire idea of this forum is to discuss our implants, etc it would be somewhat illogical to start worrying about it now. Neo only said our screennames wouldn't be collected or published but...obviously...yes, they'll be on this site still.

    As far as which implants to list..I thought NeoSapiens got his point across fairly clearly. But I'll try to simplify even further: There's no need to list non-medical implants that are already an accepted procedure such as breast implants. Medical implants are also obviously an accepted procedure and therefore don't need to be mentioned. DirectorX's ear magnet should clearly be placed on the list, but if the reason why is still unclear then I can't be of any more help. The goal here is to obtain a list of new implants or procedures so that the medical community can have their ethical discussion and hopefully come around to performing these procedures. Getting caught in the small insignificant details has caused quite a few projects to fail on this site, I hope it doesn't continue on this post.

    I for one think this is a great idea because, although some of us can figure out how to do a basic magnetic implant in a fingertip, there are a lot of other people out there who would be better off having a professional perform the procedure and I think the safety of our community should be a top concern. There are also some projects, such as electrical arrays connected directly to nerves that should ALWAYS be performed by a professional.

    @NeoSapiensSurgery  I hope what I said in this post stayed with the nature of your request

    Registry Info:

    I currently have no implants but plan on having a magnet and rfid tag installed within a month assuming they both arrive on time.

    -My magnet will be implanted in the Radial side of the Volar surface of my middle fingertip. 

    -The RFID tag(2x12mm) will be installed in the fleshy part of my hand between the thumb and pointer finger and will be injected from the dorsal side of my hand using an injection syringe.

    -One of the main implants I would like in the future would be a device that measured the concentration of various molecules in my blood. Placement, size, etc I'm unsure of but would imagine the size could be brought down to approx. the same of a AA battery.

    Hopefully you can get more detailed responses from the people who have actually had implants, I can't be too detailed about my future ones simply because I don't know the answer. But I hope this helps.

    EDIT: I know I'm way off in my usage of the medical terms but hopefully you get my point hah.
  • @glims  a separate page would be fine, particularly if people could input things directly into a spreadsheet so I didn't have to re-enter it all later, but here we reach the limits of my technological capabilities... (we all have our areas of specialty).  As MattGuy suggested, I cannot hide your screen names on these posts, but I wouldn't publish them, since I am not a journalist, but a doctor, and medical journals will on principle refuse to publish identifying information without consent from the individuals.  However, I understand that this is only a good faith guarantee and that some people may be uncomfortable with it.  That is OK.  I'm not trying to make anyone uncomfortable.  Just trying to get a sense of where this community is headed and how we can better define the intersection between DIY biohacking enthusiasts and the ethically-guarded technical knowledge of the surgical community that will ultimately be needed for you to accomplish anything with a degree of sophistication.

    Re:  breast implants, you are probably right - I should have said functional but non-medical and non-cosmetic purposes. 

    @MattGuy Thank you for your honest response and the shared philosophy.  I'm curious - why on the radial border of your middle fingertip?  I ask because that is the pinch/opposition surface that we all constantly touch with our thumbs when picking up objects; would it not be more comfortable to have it on the ulnar side?  I'm asking purely out of curiosity, not criticism.  Also, feel free to elaborate on what you have to obtain from both of these implants if you wish, although I understand this may be personal information. 
  • Sorry, "hope" to obtain, not "have" to obtain
  • Another few bits of information that would be useful, pointed out to me by a member of this forum:

    • Where was your implant sourced from (homemade, retailer, a laboratory etc) - IF you feel comfortable saying so?
    • What is the surface composition of the implant that will interact with the body (any special coating, bonding, etc)?
  • edited August 2014
    @AmmonRa Thanks for being pro-active!

    **Click here to give your input on the implant registry**

    Neo, you are right, ulnar border is where I'd want it. I'd planned before but just quickly tested by resting my hand on the table and mouse but both gave me non-typical results as far as where pressure would be..heh.
  • Hey @AmmonRa could you check out the registry? It seems to be concatenating all of the answers into one survey...Is there any way to keep them separate? I can try to help if theres some way to give me access to the doc..I have no ideas off the top of my head tho, not really sure how it's all put together.
  • @AmmonRa -  THAT is awesome!  Thanks very much!  Much better way of doing it.  Now I just need to figure out how to see responses, and how to keep this forum post active so people will notice it and give entries.
  • here is a link to view the results 

    MattGuy not sure what you mean about concatenating all of the answers, but if you PM me your gmail address, I'll give you edit access to it, then you can change it as you see fit
  • edited August 2014
    I will add the link on occasion to keep it visible

    **Click here to give your input on the implant registry**

    @AmmonRA Nevermind, when I finished answering the form it showed all of the answers put together into one question sheet. But nevermind, since there's a version of the answers in excel format it doesn't matter :)
  • @NeoSapiensSurgery
    I'm beyond happy to see a surgeon reach out to our community. To my knowledge you are the first to do so. As you mentioned in your post, the narratives occurring in medicine about these kinds of things are limited, if not avoided all together. Anyway, I'm glad someone is seeing the potential.

    I have very strong opinions on this as well as recommendations. I'll send you my number in a private message.

    The list of procedures and implants that are on my wish list is staggering. I am forced to stay within the realm of subdermal implants which can be performed by piercing professionals due to costs, but if I was funds unlimited I have a good list of invasive procedures ranging from deep brain stimulation to elaborate facial prosthetics and more. I've also devised ways to circumvent our limit the fda involvement in those devices and reduce legal liability for surgeons.

    I think some of the technologies available today which can potentially become implanted are so important and can offer such an advantage to those that get them, that the potential for a social rift between the rich and poor, or civilian / military, or any other axis of access you can think of is something to be considered carefully. most of us on this forum are fighting to make sure that that never happens.

    welcome to the forum. I hope to talk more!
  • I by no means qualify as an "usual" member of this forum, especially since I have no implants yet. Feel free to use or not use my data.

    Also I'd like to say that what you are doing is exactly what the community needs; closing the gap between hobbyists and professionals. Thank you very much for doing this.

    So, like I said, I am a vanilla human as of now :D

    My first step will probably be a magnet in the left ringfinger, like most people have here. I have no surgical training and won't attempt to do this on my own, there are a multiple piercers in my vicinity who have done the procedure before. I will gladly spend a few extra bucks for magnets the piercer trusts and the professional treatment.

    As a long term wish I want to have an LED-clock on my left arm.
    The way I am planning it now, its two rings of 8 LEDs and a sensitive button in between. A clock is simply the most simple yet useful thing I could think of.

    I do believe this is possible in at most 5 years. In fact it would be possible today, but I want it to be practical and "reasonable". I know people will find it really weird (because so far I have not encountered anyone who isn't repelled by the magnet idea, let alone the clock one) but I don't think I need to scare people into running away with a 2cm thick enclosed chip in my arm. I want it to look like a more or less "natural" extension of my body, not like something I had to force there.
    The clock itself can be made really flat and very small and if I include a single button the rather large remote communication part can be removed, so as always only the problem of the power source remains. I would like to seperate the charging coil and battery from the rest of the circuitry, simply to flatten the package (I basically have no medical knowledge, but I believe higher up on the forearm is a better place for the battery anyway). The only problem with that is keeping the wire in place and length changes, especially when twisting the wrist.
  • I'd like to thank everyone who has responded to this survey.  All of the answers are meticulous, well-put, and useful.  It gives me a good sense of the current state of technology among grinders and where things may be headed.  

    This community has made it apparent to me that the ethics of doctors doing experimental or non-medically-necessary-augmentative procedures on people are being fundamentally inverted by the "people" going ahead and doing the procedures themselves. It's really a fascinating time to be alive.

    My next question is to determine what meaningful cultural change is likely to occur from all of this.  For instance, what device born out of DIY grinding will actually be so useful that it may enter the cultural mainstream?  See my last post.

    For now, most of the 'technological implants' being utilized seem to fall under the 'body is handbag' category to me - magnets and RFID chips can serve the same functions in a ring or bracelet as they do when implanted (from an outsider's perspective).  I wonder what type of implant would truly be in another category - that is, its function cannot be replicated or achieved without bodily integration?

    Am I wrong?  What are your thoughts?  Interested to hear.
  • A ring or bracelet can be lost or stolen.  While someone can steal your keyfob with your password in it, it's a whole 'nothermatter to start diggin around to get your rfid out.

    Beyond that, having it as integral part of yourself alters the concept of where our bodies end and our technology begins. It redefines how we interact with the rest of our modern world. Humans without their technology (language, sharp rocks, computational devices) are just hairless monkeys.

    I think, somewhere else, I have addressed the "what is this good for, what will it be used for" question. That question is inimical to exploration. Say you just developed the first true plastic back in 1862. What are you going to use it for, whats going to be the future's hot commoditization / mainstream utilization of plastic? Who the fuck knows? But we know now. The only appropriate answer, albeit tongue in cheek, is that "the street finds it own uses for things".
  • I want to add to what glims said about rings and bracelets being stolen, and these things being integral parts of one's self. Pardon my passionate post.

    You have to make a conscious put a ring or a bracelet on, and likewise take them off. You have that power. Humans experience the world around us through our five (or so) senses, and sometimes one may be more useful than others. But they are never off, always waiting to convey an experience to our brains. Since they have this persistence, they have power over us.

    Take the common example of magnet implant. Sure we could use voltmeters, magnetometers, whatever, or we could even tape a magnet to the finger. Those would give us the same practical information and even more than a magnet implant ever would. In those cases, we take the reading and move on to whatever's next. But I didn't get my magnet just to take readings. 

    Someone could describe to me the grand canyon for hours and I may understand their words and passion, but until I see it, bear witness and experience it, I can't understand it. Having these magnets installed causes me to experience the world in a way I never would have understood before. Short of another surgery/accident, I can never turn it off. They have a power over my world now, more similar to my eyes and taste buds than anything else.  And that, to me, is it's most powerful "function."

    It may be psychological trickery, sure. But it feels something more than a fleshy handbag of cheeky tricks to me. And who knows, maybe we'll develop something more efficient than a magnetometer, expand the power of the human ear, whatever. It's exciting to think we are just, pun intended, scratching the surface. 
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