While body piercings routinely heal and do well in clean, protected areas of healthy skin with good circulation, the implantation of a metal-backed, Microdermal ring finger piercing, is ill-advised. Since the circulation and healing potential of the hand is good it might be tempting to conclude that this is a safe idea. Not in this Hand Surgeon’s opinion. I do too much surgery already treating hand infections without introducing an implant. Even traditional rings can get caught and cause severe degloving injuries (just ask Jimmy Fallon). These piercings introduce a whole different level of concern.
The lack of padding in the area of the extensor surface of the finger, and the motion of the extensor tendon immediately below the skin is a formula for tendon injury. The tendon is at risk of damage from the procedure itself or erosion over time from constant motion of metal against extensor tendon. The backing (anchor) can become detached and migrate either after catching the ring during activity on or wear and tear failure. Finally, and most devastating, is the risk infection. Our hands are not the cleanest area of our bodies and the ring piercing is unlikely to wall off (epithelialize) around the implant in the same way piercings do in other parts of the body. Infection might be treated effectively with ring removal and a course of antibiotics, but it could also result in deep space infection requiring extensive surgery and require long term antibiotics. Such finger infections can be hard to eradicate and result in permanent loss of motion, or even finger loss.
I’d rather we not meet in the Emergency Department, headed to the Operating Room because you wanted to show your love with a finger ring piercing. Show you love in another way and protect your hands!
Greg Balourdas, MD – TheHandDoctor.com