Some piercers, primarily in Europe (hence the synonym European method) choose to use cannula needles rather than hubless hollow piercing needles. A cannula needle is a hypodermic needle (a standard hubbed hollow needle) but with a plastic sheath on it, also hubbed. If you've ever had surgery, this is the kind of needle medical staff utilize for inserting IVs.
The basic procedure for the piercing (overly simplifying things) is as follows:
- The placement is marked with dots at the entrance and exit point of the piercing.
- In many cases the skin to be pierced is held by clamps, but this is definitely not universal (many piercers prefer a "freehand piercing" method). Alternately, for piercings such as a rook, a pair of mosquito forceps or similar device may be used to support the tissue, and for piercings such as nostril piercings and PAs, a receiving tube may be used to both support the tissue and "catch" the needle.
- The piercing is done with a catheter (cannula) needle with both the metal needle and the plastic sheath.
- The metal needle is pulled out of the body of the cannula, leaving just the cannula (a hollow flexible plastic tube) in the piercing.
- The jewelry is inserted into the cannula, and then the entire thing is pulled back out in the opposite direction it was placed.
- The needle and cannula are discarded, leaving only the jewelry in place.
There may be some additional discomfort, and slightly more bleeding from the cannula, but many piercers believe that the increased ease of follow through more than makes up for it. In addition, the simplicity of this technique can make it ideal for home piercing by inexperienced "piercers".