Piercings can become impacted—if you get in a car crash, fall out a window, or just slip on some wet rocks at the beach (like the person here did), your piercings, if they're in the path of the impact, effectively become shrapnel. As an introduction, here is the pictured person's story:
- To make a long story short, I slipped on some wet rocks at the beach, and, unable to get my hands out in time, landed flat on my face. I suffered a broken skull, knocked-out teeth, and had to get about a million stitches. What does this have to do with BME? Well, what with all the blood gushing from the severed vein in my forehead (and that whole messy business about having a broken skull and having my teeth all hanging out), I scarcely paid any mind to the burning sensation in my upper lip at first. But once I was loaded into the ambulance, I asked the paramedic if I could have something to wipe the blood out of my nostrils with. When I went to wipe it away, though, my whole upper lip lit up with pain. I gingerly touched the area to try and figure out what was wrong, and suddenly got a sinking feeling in my stomach. I said to the paramedic, 'Did my septum ring go through my lip?'. He said, 'Was there a ball on the other end?'. I said, 'Yes', and he said, 'Then yes, it did'. When I got to the ER, the doctor said, 'Now I really HAVE seen everything', and called all the other doctors in to have a look. He left and came back five minutes later with a pair of pliers and a pair of bolt cutters. I freaked out and finally persuaded him to let me try to unscrew the ball that wasn't embedded in my lip and take the ring out that way. As soon as I was stitched up and done with the X-rays, I put the ring right back in, with the doctor rolling his eyes in disgust!
- Note how bent out of shape the ring (which was your average horseshoe at one time) itself is. It went ALL THE WAY through my lip, coming out inside my mouth, and actually breaking one of my front teeth. I am including the picture of my whole head as well, to show just how bent out of shape the ring is and to give a better idea of the scale of the tear in my upper lip from it. My entire head is swollen out of shape in that picture — I wouldn't have even thought something like that POSSIBLE!
Now, in that case, other than a little extra injury, it wasn't that big of a deal. However, in other cases it can be much more severe—especially so because doctors and emergency response teams may not be aware that you have body piercings and may assume that any twisted metal they find in your skin needs to be removed immediately.
In addition, in the case of an impact, nasal and oral piercings can most certainly present an inhalation risk.