The expanding popularity of body piercing increases the likelihood that patients will arrive for surgery with body jewelry in place. Measures must be taken to remove this jewelry, as with other more traditional jewelry (eg, rings, watches), to prevent alternate site burns when using electrosurgery. Jewelry in and around the mouth must be removed to avoid dislocation and aspiration during intubation.

When a procedure is not going to use electrosurgery, caregivers may be inclined to allow patients to keep their jewelry on if it is not in or around the mouth or within the surgical area.

This is not a good practice because the jewelry may cause pressure injuries, depending on the patient’s position during the procedure.

Finally, piercings of male and female genitalia often interfere with the successful passage of an indwelling urinary catheter and should be removed before surgery. Ask your physician about the use of acrylic retainers versus steel.

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