Before any piercing begins, you are required to fill out a questionaire form. This is for legal purposes and to inform us of any medical problems we should be aware of such as allergies (refer to "Health Risks"). Proof of age will also be required. Any persons under the age of 16 (with the exception of genitals, 18) will be refused if they are not accompanied by their legal guardian. Any persons that are intoxicated, that are pregnant or nursing, or are incapable of consent due to mental incapacity will also be refused.
After the paperwork is in order, you will then sit down with your piercer and they will go over the procedure with you to help you feel more comfortable and at ease with the process. They will also discuss your piercing and any details to ensure that you are satisfied before beginning.
There are a number of different methods used today that depend entirely upon which type of piercing you will be getting. These are a few of the common methods.
The Standard method involves making an opening using a hollow medical needle. The needle is inserted into the body part being pierced. While still in the body, the initial jewelry to be worn in the piercing is pushed through the opening, following the back of the needle. Piercing using hollow medical needles does not actually remove any flesh, the method cuts a slit and holds it open in the shape of the cross section of the needle, in this case, a circle. In this method, the needle is the same gauge or larger than the initial jewelry to be worn.
Dermal Punching is a method which is used to remove a circular area of tissue, into which jewelry is placed. This method is usually used to remove both skin and cartilage in upper ear piercings, where cartilage must be removed to relieve pressure on the piercing to ensure proper healing and long term viability of the piercing. The healed fistulas created or enlarged using a dermal punch will usually not shrink over time.
The Pierce and Taper method is similar to the standard method. It is a more advanced technique though, sometimes used to pierce where large gauge initial jewelry is desired. In this method, after the needle is inserted and the opening is created, a tapered steel bar (usually one gauge larger than that of the needle at the large end) is inserted instead of initial jewelry. Then the jewelry is pushed through the opening, following the tapered bar. The success of this method is dependent on the elasticity of the skin in the area being pierced, the skill of the piercer and the type of piercing being done.