10 Reasons to Remove Your Jewelry and Body Piercings Before Your Hysterectomy
It may feel like an annoyance to remove all your jewelry and piercings prior to your hysterectomy, but there are several important reasons for doing so. It isn’t that your surgical team is being overly picky or has a personal issue with your piercings. Their goal is to avoid complications and keep you as safe as possible during your surgery.
Jewelry and piercings can get in the way or cause harm if left in place during a surgical procedure. This may be an uncommon occurrence, but the risk is too high to ignore, especially since removing your jewelry is relatively easy.
Here are 10 reasons why it’s beneficial to remove all of your jewelry and piercings before your hysterectomy.
1. Risk of Infection
Local or systemic infection may result from transient bacteria on body jewelry that is left in place during surgical procedures. Unless your jewelry is removed and soaked in an antiseptic, it is very difficult to eliminate all the bacteria which may be hiding on it.
2. Accidental Harm
If you are awake and something catches on your piercing, you would notice immediately and have the opportunity to avoid injury. If you are under anesthesia, however, you won’t notice if your piercing is caught on something. This may result in the piercing being pulled out or the skin being torn. In addition, body jewelry left in place during surgery can cause burns or pressure-related tissue injury.
3. Retained Items
Piercings may become dislodged during your surgery. There is then potential for the piecing to enter the surgical wound and even remain inside your body.
4. Interfering with Procedure
Jewelry and piercings can hinder surgical instruments or your surgeon’s field of view. For example, if you are having breast surgery, it makes sense that nipple piercings would need to be removed. If you are having a pelvic laparoscopic surgery, belly button piercings would need to be removed. Likewise, if you are having a hysterectomy, genital piercings would need to come out.
5. Urinary Catheterization
If genital piercings are in place, extra care must be observed when placing your urinary catheter. Partial or full urethral tears can result, which may then require additional surgical procedures.
Tongue, lip and nose piercings should always be removed whenever general anesthesia is used. The anesthesiologist places a breathing tube (endotracheal tube) to ensure your airway remains open. Piercings could get in the way of this procedure or become dislodged and even aspirated into the lungs.
7. Post Op Swelling
Swelling is very common after surgery. Jewelry or piercings that feel comfortable prior to surgery may become very tight due to post op swelling and fluids received during/after surgery. This can result in restricted blood flow, additional pain and swelling, and it may result in needing to have your jewelry cut off.
8. Diagnostic Imaging
You may have unexpected imaging studies done while you are in the hospital. Metal body jewelry is known to interfere with CT, MRI and ultrasound. In some cases, you may actually experience burns, skin punctures or other injury. All metal jewelry produces “metallic shadows” that can interfere with the quality of scans, sometimes rendering them useless. Jewelry also makes it impossible to see what’s behind it on X-ray.
9. Lost/Stolen Jewelry
It’s very easy for items to be lost or stolen in a hospital. Your jewelry may be expensive or perhaps have sentimental value for you. For your peace of mind, it’s better to leave them at home where you know they are safe.
10. Removing Piercings
Few physicians and nurses are trained in the proper removal of various types of piercings, so it’s to your benefit to remove them yourself or make an appointment at a piercing studio to have them removed professionally.
- Ask your surgeon if it’s appropriate to have spacers in place of your piercings. These can usually be obtained from piercing studios, but make sure they are not made of metal.
- If you have body modification or medical implants placed under your skin, please let your surgeon know before your surgery date in case special arrangements need to be made.
- While your piercings are removed, take advantage of the opportunity to sterilize them before re-inserting.
- At your pre-op appointment, ask your surgeon when it will be safe to re-insert your body jewelry.
- Since some piercings close up quite quickly, you may feel eager to re-insert your body jewelry soon after your surgery–but wait for your doctor’s okay before re-inserting them.
- With your surgeon’s okay, consider buying a larger size barbell or stud that will accommodate possible swelling of tissues.
It’s much quicker, easier and safer to remove jewelry and piercings before surgery and leave them at home. This way, you don’t need to be concerned about harm done to yourself, damage done to your jewelry, or your items being lost while you are in the OR.
This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support. Reprinted with permission: 10 Reasons to Remove Your Jewelry and Body Piercings Before Your Hysterectomy