A clavicle piercing is a type of surface body piercing performed on the collarbone area. There are generally considered to be two types of clavicle piercing — one in which the body jewelry is pierced through the skin of the collarbone area, and one in which the jewelry is passed below the collarbone itself, leaving visible studs above and below the bone. This is known as a sub-clavicle piercing and is considered very dangerous, because it usually penetrates into the muscle and leaves the wearer prone to nerve damage and systemic infection. Surface piercing is typically different from other types of body piercing, because the body jewelry passes beneath the surface of the skin, rather than completely through a body part. Ear piercing, for instance, is not considered surface piercing because the jewelry passes all the way through the ear lobe. Surface piercings in general are considered very susceptible to rejection by the body, even after they have healed, because the body's immune system usually pushes them slowly out of the skin.
Most clavicle piercings pass through the surface of the skin, either above or below the collarbone. These piercings are sometimes placed in the hollow at the base of the throat. Sub-clavicle piercings in which the jewelry passes beneath the collarbone itself are rare, and few body piercing specialists are capable of performing this procedure correctly. Fewer than half of those who receive a sub-clavicle piercing are generally able to retain it for any length of time, due to the pain associated with the procedure, the risk of infection, and the high rate of rejection by the body.
Ordinary surface piercings in the collarbone area are also considered to have a high rate of rejection. Body piercing enthusiasts are usually advised to use appropriate surface piercing body jewelry, and keep the area clean during recovery, to minimize the chances of rejection. Surface piercing jewelry is usually curved, since this shape typically places less stress on the skin and reduces the irritation that can speed piercing rejection.
Keeping a clavicle piercing clean during recovery is said to be a difficult matter, requiring twice-daily disinfection. While the typical recovery time for a clavicle piercing is said to be six to eight weeks, many such piercings require months to heal. Others never completely heal at all, even after years have passed.