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I have a magnet in my finger: Why I got my implant, and the process.

Posted by Trik Toral, 29 March 2015 · 1,251 views

About a year ago I saw a Reddit AMA about a guy that had rare earth magnets implanted into his fingers and found it really interesting. I've never been much into body modification, but this intrigued me, using technology to open up new ways to explore our world? At this point I lived in an area with very few body artists and I didn't see it being within reach for me at the time (my research also showed it was expensive). 
The reasons I wanted to get this implant was to be able to feel magnetic fields and electrical currents. When people with magnets come within a certain proximity of a magnet or electrical current (usually within a foot or less, depending on the strength of the field) they feel a slight tugging or vibration inside their finger and they can use the magnet to sort of craft a mental image of where exactly the field is. I've read that DC fields have a solid vibration while AC is a pulsing feeling, and magnetic fields either pull or repel the magnetic depending on the polarity and that all sounds fascinating to me. It does depend on the sensitivity of the person, depth of the magnet in your skin, and the power of the magnet.
You can also pick up metal objects with the magnet, which at first sounds cool, but because your skin insulates it, they have to be small, such as thumbtacks or maybe bottlecaps. Its a fun parlor trick with no practical use, but its a nice physical side effect of the magnet.
Risks : Very low.
The magnet is small enough that despite its power, it will not effect electronics such as phones or hard drives, it won't wipe credit cards and it won't show up on metal detectors or body scanners. The only thing I know of that could find it is an X ray. It won't be ripped out by an MRI, and because of the coating I won't get heavy metal poisoning.
Around 4 months ago I rediscovered magnetic implants and began serious research. I had the money for it, and it was within reach, so I began my search. I called local artists and they directed me to a guy that could do it, but when I called him he said his magnets were out of stock, but if I could find one, he would implant it.
You can't get any magnet implanted, for it to be small enough but powerful it has to be a rare earth magnet (AKA neodymium) and it has to have a special coating such as silicone or gold (mine is coated with bio-compatible titanium) so it took a bit of searching. I ended up ordering from DangerousThings.com, I chose the M31 because I wanted to start small and I could always upgrade to a bigger magnet.
My magnet shipped very quickly and cheap, the total was $55 after shipping, much more reasonable than others I had seen.
I was initially a bit disappointed by the size, it was smaller than I expected until I remembered it was going to be inside me and compared it to my finger.
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Before I had it implanted I played with it a bit, testing its strength and guaranteeing that it wouldn't affect electronics.
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The Implant :
March 26th
The appointment was pretty much a walk in, I signed a waiver, the artist took my magnet to sterilize it in surgical soap, sterilized his tools and then injected 3 shots of Lidocaine into my right ring finger. They stung a bit and the injection was uncomfortable, but that was the only painful part of the implant, it completely numbed my finger and I only felt some tugging and moving during the implantation.
I chose the right hand because I believe its more sensitive than my left, the ring finger because its the weakest and I use it the least, and I had it implanted in the side of the finger so I don't lose any sensitivity in my fingertip if my body rejects it.
We waited about 10 minutes for the Lidocaine to take effect, then he began the procedure by marking the point on my finger where I wanted the magnet and used a scalpel to create a tiny incision (about 1/4"), then used a metal rod to create a pocket for the magnet, then used a plastic tube and a toothpick to slide it into that pocket, held the wound together and stitched it up with 2 very tidy sutures. The entire process was very quick, less than 10 minutes before I was on my way. 
I was told wait 4-5 days to remove the sutures and to keep it dry and secure, don't bump it around or play with it, it could cause the magnet to shift and be rejected or lengthen healing time. Some people say they couldn't feel fields for 2 weeks to a month until their nerves grew around the magnet completely, but I'm hoping it won't be that long. Its a bit swollen and it hurts if I move it around suddenly, like reach to grab something too fast, but overall it hasn't been very painful at all.
Album of the magnet and the sutures, don't click if you don't like stitches.
Total cost: 
Magnet $45
Shipping $10
Implant $90
Pretty much being a superhero now : Priceless

December 2020

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