Thermic effect on metal body piercing by electro-coagulation: An ex vivo study on pig skin and bovine liver.

Deml, Moritz Caspar; Goost, Hans; Schyma, Christian; Deborre, Christoph (2018). Thermic effect on metal body piercing by electro-coagulation: An ex vivo study on pig skin and bovine liver. Technology and health care, 26(2), pp. 239-247. IOS Press 10.3233/THC-160706

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Piercings are placed at different body sites often invisible to medical staff. They may cause additional injuries in trauma and emergency surgery by electro-cautery.


To clarify whether electro-coagulation will have a direct damaging effect to the skin around a pierced skin area.


Metallic piercings were fixed at defined distances from the neutral and active electrode on abdominal pig skin. The distance of the active electrode was reduced by 5 mm increments to 0. The respective increases in temperature were determined with a thermal camera. A macroscopic and histological analysis of the area around the piercing to detect thermal damage was carried out.


Significant increases in temperature and visible changes in the tissue around the piercing only occurred when the active electrode was in direct contact with the piercing (increase of 47.3∘C). Electro-cautery in distance of 5 to 10 mm to the piercing showed only temperature increases of less than 5∘C.


If metallic piercings are not directly touched by the active electrode and the distance is more than 5-10 mm, no clinically relevant effect is created on the tissue in direct proximity to the piercings by electro-cautery. In an emergency surgery situation, a piercing not fixed in direct proximity to the surgical field may likely be ignored.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute of Legal Medicine > Forensic Medicine
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Orthopaedic, Plastic and Hand Surgery (DOPH) > Clinic of Orthopaedic Surgery

UniBE Contributor:

Deml, Moritz Caspar, Schyma, Christian


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




IOS Press




Lilianna Bolliger

Date Deposited:

20 Mar 2018 10:30

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:10

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Electro surgery body jewelry body piercing burn injury electro-coagulation


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