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Lancet. 2003 Apr 5;361(9364):1205-15.

Body piercing: medical consequences and psychological motivations.

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Klinikum der Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe-Universitaet, Klinik fuer Psychosomatische Medizin und Psychotherapie, Psychotherapeutische Ambulanz (Hs 93), D-60528 am Main, Frankfurt, Germany.


Body piercing is increasing in popularity around the world. In this review, I describe the history, origins, and peculiarities of various forms of body piercing, and procedures involved, variations in healing time, legal aspects and regulations, and complications and side-effects. I have also included a discussion of the motivation for and psychological background behind body piercing. In presenting research results, I aim to raise awareness of the many risks associated with body piercing. In presenting psychological data, I intend to create an understanding of the multifaceted and often intense motivations associated with body piercing, and, thus, to diminish any prejudices held by health professionals against people with piercings.

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[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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