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Body piercing warning

13th June 2008

Fears are emerging that botched body piercings could become a substantial burden on the NHS in the future.

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A study in the British Medical Journal found that up to 25% of people who have piercings report complications from the procedure such as swelling or bleeding with half bad enough to need further help and even hospitalisation.

About 80% of piercings were carried out at specialist shops but some piercings, including those of the tongue, lips and genitals, had been carried out in a non-professional setting.

The study found the risk was greater with those who did not use specialist clinics or did the piercing themselves with hepatitis infection one area of concern.

Figures show that one in 10 people now have some form of piercing other than an earlobe and about 46% of 16-24-year-old girls had a body piercing.

The Health Protection Agency conducted the joint study with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine among a sample of more than 10,000 people aged 16 and over in England.

Dr Angie Bone, one of the research authors, said if the current trends continue, body piercing could pose future problems for the NHS.

She added: "There is a message here for the health service that body piercing is really very common and, if it remains fashionable, in the near future one in two women will have a body piercing and there will be more complications."

Many people remain unaware, she said, of the potentially serious nature of a piercing and stressed the importance of using a specialist clinic.

 

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