Surface Anchor Removal

Today I did a short demonstration and question and answer discussion with the staff of Newport Hospital on the removal of surface anchors. Below is the content of the handout I gave to them.

Special thanks to >Industrial Strength Needles, LLC for donating tools for removing anchors to the hospital!

Surface Anchor Removal

Surface Anchors are performed several different ways, and with a few differing jewelry options. They are performed all over the body and go by a variety of different names (dermal anchor and microdermal being the two most common).

Determine if the piercing is actually an anchor

To remove them, it's important to first make sure they are actually surface anchors. A traditional surface piercing is one barbell underneath the skin, and is far easier to remove. Simply unscrew one end, lubricate it, and pull the other end out through the exit hole.

Surface Anchor Jewelry Styles

There are several different anchor styles. Unfortunately, most have holes in them for tissue to grow through. This doesn't tend to help the anchor from rejecting, but it does make the anchor harder to remove.

Some anchors have very large holes to allow lots of tissue to grow through them, further complicating anchor removal.

The best anchors in my opinion have no holes for tissue to grow through. They are easier to remove and heal better than anchors with holes.

Parts of a surface anchor

Heel: The short, back part of an anchor.

Foot: The long front part of an anchor.

Post: The portion of the anchor that connects the foot and heel (also known as the base) to the disc, gem or ball outside the skin.

Removal with a disc or gem attached

1) Attempt to figure out which way the anchor is oriented. The heel is the easy portion to remove, so finding which direction the foot is facing will tell you where the heel is.

2) Attach your anchor removal tool to the disc portion of the anchor.

If the gem or disc is too big to clamp the anchor removal tool down, feel free to wrap the tool with rubber bands.

3) Apply gentle pressure to the anchor removal tool pushing TOWARD the foot and pulling up from the heal. While doing this, pull the skin behind the heel firmly. The anchor should pop out very easily.

4) If there is tissue growth through a hole in the anchor, use a sharp instrument to cut it away. As a piercer, I usually use a thick needle. You may choose to use a scalpel blade.

Removal with no gem or ball

1) If the gem has fallen off the anchor , but it is still visible through the skin, grab a threaded anchor tool.

Screw the tool into the anchor as securely as possible.

Repeat the same steps as before, putting pressure toward the foot and pulling up the heel, while pulling the skin back firmly from the heel.

Note: Occasionally skin will have completely healed over the anchor. Before cutting the jewelry out, you may try cutting a very small hole with a needle and trying the threaded anchor tool first.

We have had a lot of success using a 16 gauge piercing needle to allow us to rethread the jewelry.

Need more tools?

The surface anchor removal tools you received today were donated by Rockstar Body Piercing and Industrial Strength Needles, LLC.

Industrial Strength has lot of body jewelry tools and even has kits they have for hospitals. They can be reached at:


Industrial Strength Needle, LLC www.isneedles.com / 1-877-667-4277

If you have any questions, want further information, or need to send someone to me for help, I am available at:

Rockstar Body Piercing

Jef Saunders

crooshjef@rockstarpiercing / 401-272-0345

267 Thayer Street Providence RI 02906