Blog — Notes of a Plastic Surgeon

Welcome to my blog. I am a plastic surgeon in Seattle and have been in private practice since 1991. I've seen more than a few interesting faces and cases through my years spent in the exam room, the operating room and the emergency room. And I have an opinion on just about everything relating to plastic surgery (and a lot of unrelated stuff). If you like my blog, let me know. Thanks for reading! Lisa

Nipple Piercing Smackdown

About two weeks ago I got a whole bunch of sort of nasty emails from professional body piercers slamming me for both my technique for piercing inverted nipples and also for my fees.  It seems they were having some sort of body piercing summit and someone stumbled across my webpage on this topic.  I was able to engage a couple of these piercers and it was interesting to compare notes.  It turns out that my technique is pretty similar to theirs.  I use a suture to pull out the nipple and they either pop it out with pressure on the areola or they grab it with some toothed forceps.  The hardware I use is the same as some of the piercers and I was relieved that my supplier, Body Circle, was well thought of.  One big difference is that I use an injection of Lidocaine (the same stuff your dentist uses) to numb the skin and the tissue deep to the skin so that after the initial “ouch” of the Lidocaine injection, the procedure is pain free.  The piercers all thought this Lidocaine injection was totally overkill.  Two issues here.  Piercers don’t have access to injectable Lidocaine and are not licensed to inject it and maybe more important, some in the piercing and body modification culture consider pain and suffering an integral part of the whole experience.  I have discussed this pain and suffering issue with several heavily pierced and modified patients including one with a forked tongue.  I avoid pain and suffering both in myself and my patients and use a nice big dose of local anesthetic.  I also think epidurals for childbirth is the best thing since microwave nachos but that is another can of worms.

John Durante of Evolve Seattle Professional Body Piercing

I was also taken to task (and given a one star review, ouch) on my Facebook page by this fellow, John Durante, who is professional piercer in Seattle.  He apparently does lots of inverted nipples.  He calls my fees extortion.  Double ouch.  My guess is that my overhead is a little higher than his.  I do know that my fee for correcting inverted nipples (as of this post $500 for one side and $600 for both sides) is a fraction of the fees for invasive correction that destroys the ducts and doesn’t work any better than my piercing technique.

When I started doing this procedure about 15 years ago, many of my patients came in after being turned down at a piercing parlor.  Maybe that has changed.  I think it is great that patients have a choice and I would love to hear about any experience anyone reading this post has had with their inverted nipples being pierced by another doctor or a professional piercer.  Shoot me an email.

Thanks for reading and check out my Instagrams @sowermd and @breastimplantsanity.  Dr. Lisa Lynn Sowder

And this just in as of 6/21/18.  I have heard from a very nice piercer named Levi that the following piercing establishments in Seattle can pierce inverted nipples:  They are Slave to the Needle, Laughing Buddha and Evolve Body Piercing.  This is second hand information and I cannot vouch for the quality of their work.  There is also a safe piercing website that has information about piercing.


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