Micro Dermal Design History

November 14, 2014

Micro dermal implants aka dermal anchors or surface anchors are a relatively new field within piercing. They involve placing a small anchor plate into the skin and then attaching jewellery to the plate via a screw thread.


[Micro dermal Placement in the skin]


The jewellery can range from plain discs to jewelled discs to shapes. Micro dermal anchors have grown in popularity in recent years as they achieve a similar look to surface piercings but with reduced risk of rejection and reduced risk of scarring.


[4 high polish titanium disc micro dermmal placed on the hips]


As micro dermals are such a new form of piercing the designs of the plates have evolved quickly over recent years. The evolution has taken the form of material selection and anchor plate design to try and minimise the chance of rejection


  • Material Selection – The first micro dermal implants were made from 316L grade surgical steel which met ASTM F138 standard. Modern micro dermals are made from implant grade Titanium (Ti6Al4V) which meets ASTM F136 standard. The reason for the change over to Titanium was the reduction in weight of the jewellery and to minimise rejection risks as 15% of the UK population have an allergy to the compounds found in surgical steel.


  • Anchor plate design – The shape of the anchor plate is the most obvious change in micro dermal evolution. All of the design changes based around the anchor plate are to aid the skin to grow around and through the holes and reduce chances of rejection. The following picture highlights these changes.


[Micro dermal anchor plate and disc design]


  • Early design base plate with 3 small holes. The skin can struggle to grow through such small holes which means that the body may not be able to 'grab' onto the base plate securely. The disc that works with this design had a convex design. In rare cases this can cause the skin to 'dimple' due to the downwards pressure of the jewellery.


  • This design featured curved sides to try and reduce the foot print of the base plate and allow the skin to grow around and through the jewellery faster. This design has the same issue of the skin struggling to grow through such small holes.


  • Design number 3 was a big step forward in design. The large holes and small profile of the base plate mean that the skin can easily grow through the holes and anchor the base plate in firmly. This design massively reduces the risk of rejection. The disc is flat on this design, the reason for this is to get the jewellery to sit flush with the skin and reduce chance of snagging and pulling the base plate out.


  • Micro Micro dermals! This is a future design that is being experimented with. The idea of such a small base plate is that with a smaller footprint the body can heal faster, there is less trauma when inserting and they can be used in areas of the body with smaller flat sections with better results e.g. face.


When you are looking to get a micro dermal from a body piercer make sure you go in with as much knowledge as you can. Ask your piercer to show you the exact base plate and jewellery that will be being used for you and make sure you seek out the best quality you can.


Happy healing!




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