This is a surface piercing at the nape of the neck. To my knowledge, they are always done horizontally; a vertical piercing would be under pressure every time the head was moved, and so would never heal. If done well and healed successfully, it just looks like a pair of metal balls about an inch apart, on the back of the neck. It is, for my money, one of the most attractive body piercings in existence.

The risks for this piercing are the same as for any surface piercing: high rates of rejection and migration, which then leave scars. These can be reduced by wearing the correct jewellery; a surface bar or flexible tygon, rather than a conventional barbell or captive bead ring. Good aftercare and not playing with/changing the jewellery will also help. Infection is, of course, a Bad Thing, but (as far as I know) no more of a risk for this piercing than any other. "You could hit a nerve and get paralysed" is still an old wives' tale.

Additional information from BMEzine.

I had a nape piercing and loved it. It healed perfectly but my piercer was surprised by that, he had never seen one not migrate or be rejected outright. He had warned me before we went ahead with the piercing that it most likely would not be successful.

I was obligated to remove it after my mother found out. She is a doctor and has disliked but not reacted strongly to my other piercings. This one alarmed her because of its proximity to my spine, it was her belief that an infection in the piercing could potentially spread to my spinal cord and cause real damage. She thought that my hair would be a constant irritant and infection was inevitable.

She freaked out, she cried, it was very unlike her. I couldn't do that to my mother.

Additional research was unnecessary in my case, I was dealing with a hysterical woman, however, if you are considering this piercing, consider looking into this -- perhaps find a piercer who has performed this specific surface piercing many times, or ask a doctor who is not emotionally involved.

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