Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Frequently Asked Questions

I get quite a few e-mails from people interested in getting an implant (especially when BME runs a picture or article about magnetic implants!) I'm always happy to reply, but here are a few commonly asked questions and answers.

"Where can I get one (and how much do they cost?)"

My implant is a parylene coated rare earth magnetic stir element, intended for laboratory use. The company that makes them is VP Scientific. The model that I use and recommend is the VP 782N-3 VP scientific caters to larger labs, and does not have an online store front. The 782N-3 comes in packages of 100, and you'll have to make a minimum order of $50 (plus $15 handling and shipping costs.)

"Where should I go to have it implanted (and how much does it cost?)"

Aside from breast augmentation implants, most (if not all) doctors won't implant anything that's not a medical device. Unfortunately, this means that it must be done by someone who is NOT a doctor, and as such will not have access to anesthetic. Body artists (i.e. piercers) are generally the only people who are both willing and capable of installing the implants. Be sure to find an artist who is familiar with implants and methods, not just some guy who pierces noses and ears for a living. Alternatively you can do it yourself, especially if you find a way to syringe inject it like an RFID implant. If you do happen to convince a medical professional to do the procedure or find an easy way to self-implant, I would LOVE to hear about it!

Pricing will vary widely based on the person you pay to install it. Some studios may be willing to do it for cheap or for the cost of supplies, while others may insist on a hefty fee. I can't imagine what a medical practitioner would charge.

"Do you ever get painful or unpleasant feelings from the implant?"
Yes, and they usually fall in to one of two categories. The first is pinching and crushing causing the implant to be sore. Grabbing something firmly just the wrong way or impacting it just wrong will cause it to feel weird for a few days while the tissue around it heals. The second is damage due to strong magnets. A strong magnetic field will pull and torque the implant; the resulting motion causes damage to the surrounding tissue which takes a few days to completely heal. Magnetic fields get exponentially stronger as you approach them, so you have a good idea of when you are starting to do something uncomfortable as you draw near them.

"How strong is it?"

In terms of magnetic attraction, the implant is quite weak. It's enough to suspend a small paper clip or drag a bottle cap across the table. It's definitely nothing close to the pictures you see on BME of people suspending zippo lighters or other large pieces of metal. I believe that this is important - if the magnet can pull itself strongly to metal objects, it has a much higher chance of rejecting or accidentally scarring the tissue.

I'll continue to update this post, but I think that covers the most common questions. If you have any further questions or ideas, please don't hesitate to drop me a line.