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A sternum piercing, which is also referred to as a chest or cleavage piercing, is located on the surface of a person's sternum. The sternum is the piece of bone on the upper part of the chest, which is located just above the breasts and in between the cleavage on women. For men, the sternum is considered to be the bony area around the pectoral muscles. People usually wear surface bars in sternum piercings. These bars are shaped similarly to a staple, and they go into and out of the pierced area at a 90-degree angle. A sternum piercing doesn't normally take that long to heal from, but there is a very good chance that a person's body will reject the piercing.
The human body usually attempts to reject anything that enters into the skin, which is why piercings occasionally grow over no matter how many times a person tries to keep it from happening. This doesn't typically occur with most piercings if proper care is taken of the area, but it is much more likely with a sternum piercing. Many people claim that their body rejects the jewelry and pushes it out. Some piercing experts say that this only happens if the piercer was inexperienced and that a person should do his or her research before getting a sternum piercing to ensure that the person doing the piercing knows how to properly perform the procedure.
Getting a sternum piercing normally takes just a few minutes, and the pain a person might experience varies greatly. The amount of pain a person endures will depend mostly on the individual pain tolerance level. After the piercing is done, it is necessary to wear the same jewelry in the piercing for a few weeks without removal. It may be necessary for a person to go back to his piercer after the first few weeks have passed to make sure the area is healing like it is supposed to. If it is, new jewelry can normally be picked out and put in place at that time.
Aftercare instructions are especially important to follow with sternum piercings because of how easily the body rejects these piercings. The pierced area and the jewelry should be cleaned and disinfected on a daily basis. Many people are tempted to twist and tug on their new body jewelry, but this is not recommended with sternum piercings. The only time a sternum piercing should be moved is when a person needs to clean under it while in the shower. After four to six weeks have passed, the area will likely be completely healed and no longer tender to the touch. Healing time may take longer if a sternum piercing becomes infected.