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Hypothetical: Skin Graft Wedding Rings
June 19, 2012 6:33 PM   Subscribe

Hypothetical Question: Would it be possible to trade skin grafts with someone (cosmetically/ superficially) in lieu of wedding rings? Would a plastic surgeon be willing to do it, if it is possible?

My boyfriend and I both hate wearing rings, and were trying to think of creative hypothetical alternatives to wedding bands. We're not into tattoos or piercings or anything, and I came up with the idea of trading skin grafts (possibly in the shape of a heart). I don't know a lot about this, but I imagine that the skin on your finger might be too thin for this, but maybe the arm or something?

Note: we are not weirdos. This was just a weird conversation.
posted by howgenerica to Health & Fitness (23 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
I thought something like that would be rejected by your body?
posted by SMPA at 6:35 PM on June 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


You'd want immunosurpressants so that your immune system didn't attack the foreign object(s).

Maybe nice pendants? Folk on etsy and professional jewelers like doing non-traditional stuff even more than generic jewelry pieces.

Or ears. A tanned human ear as a pendant.

Note: we are not weirdos. This was just a weird conversation.

Ah.
posted by sebastienbailard at 6:41 PM on June 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Skin grafts from other people are apparently rejected in a week to ten days and used as temporary dressings only.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:42 PM on June 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


It won't work for the reasons that people mention above but if you like that concept, what about arranging to have rings made out of your own bone material, exchange it, but wear it as a necklace instead of a ring since you don't want to wear rings? Technically these are osteoblasts so you could grow it into other shapes/forms, but there would still be limitations as to what you could do in terms of the shape/strength.
posted by Wolfster at 6:49 PM on June 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Something less drastic might be to make lockets or even rings that encapsulate each others' hair under glass or in epoxy or something like that. It still contains your DNA, but you don't have to go through surgery, or even visit a professional hairdresser!
posted by xingcat at 6:52 PM on June 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


You'd have scars from skin grafts anyway, so how about scarification?
posted by peagood at 7:02 PM on June 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


For another odd idea, Billy Bob and Angelina apparently wore lockets containing a drop of each other's blood.
posted by jacalata at 7:02 PM on June 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


What about an artistic cutting in the shape of a heart? Some tattoo artists do them.
posted by needs more cowbell at 7:03 PM on June 19, 2012


Strictly hypothetically, I wonder if it's possible to implant some form of each other's DNA under each other's skin, keeping it contained in something like the glass capsules that house some RFID chips in dogs, or the metal one that (fictional!) Jason Bourne had in his arm.
posted by argonauta at 7:20 PM on June 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


We could get some sort of microchip that reads some kind of "If found please return to ______" thing, but I think the perfect solution would be one that required some degree of cosmetic sacrifice, like a wedding band would.

Also, I think the dislike of wedding rings extends to all jewelry. Maybe we could get transplants of each other's hair [on the ring finger]??

AGAIN STRICTLY HYPOTHETICAL - COLLEGE STUDENTS NOT NUTJOBS!
posted by howgenerica at 7:26 PM on June 19, 2012


You could remove a ring of available skin, tan it, then wear it on a finger or other appendage like a wedding band.

(Are you two men with intact foreskins, by any chance?)
posted by Sys Rq at 7:29 PM on June 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


Also, what about an old-fashioned "blood brothers" ceremony? Could definitely leave visible scars if that's your desired outcome.
posted by argonauta at 7:41 PM on June 19, 2012


We just had a netsuke thread. ... perhaps matching finely carved portraits?
posted by sebastienbailard at 7:54 PM on June 19, 2012


Maybe we could get transplants of each other's hair [on the ring finger]??

Immunosurpressants, or your immune system attacks the 'enemy' follicle.
posted by sebastienbailard at 7:56 PM on June 19, 2012


I wonder if you could perhaps have each of your blood processed into concentrated hemoglobin or some other dark substance that will last, then be tattooed with it/
posted by WasabiFlux at 8:30 PM on June 19, 2012


You're against tattoos... What about scars? Professional scarification is A Thing and you could have small hearts done to match.
posted by samthemander at 9:23 PM on June 19, 2012


Trans-Gender Induction of Hair Follicles: Human follicle cells can be induced to grow in an incompatible host of the other sex (warning: PDF sciencey article)
posted by moonmilk at 9:47 PM on June 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


For hypothetical conversation purposes only:
Like sidehedevil says, skin grafts from other people are generally rejected by the receiving person's body, and are considered temporary --- sort of like Band-Aids while your own skin heals. Plus I imagine it'd be hard to find an ethical surgeon who would agree to do such a trade.

My mother had skin grafts to her abdomen; they sliced off a very thin layer of skin from her thigh --- she said the machine "looked like a cheese slicer" --- and then poked holes in it, which made it possible to stretch that piece to cover a larger area. (You know those orange plastic temporary construction fences? Sort of like that.) So it seems to me that getting a graft "in the shape of a heart" is probably a non-starter: they don't graft a thick solid piece of skin like a big plug, but rather a thin overlay.

If you don't want jewelry or tattoos, then I'd suggest a larger version of Victorian-style hair art: they didn't just make tiny brooches and such, they also made loved ones' hair into art for their walls, including hair portraits.
posted by easily confused at 3:31 AM on June 20, 2012


If it's the "metal-against-skin" aspect of ring-wearing that bothers you, consider a silicone wedding ring: http://www.saferingz.com/
posted by Ardea alba at 5:37 AM on June 20, 2012


People in some traditional cultures perform an exchange of bodily fluids at the end of the wedding ritual in order to "seal" the marriage. One advantage is no surgery is involved, and you each come away with some of the other's DNA.
posted by sebastienbailard at 4:27 PM on June 20, 2012


get a cattle brand on your ring finger?
eric estrada keeps slices of his kids' umbilical cords in golden lockets around his neck. you could do...something like that.
posted by camdan at 6:02 PM on June 20, 2012


I used to hang out with gutterpunks for a while, and I knew a guy who wore one of his girlfriend's used tampons in a sealed bag on a necklace. I mean, so there's that.

Scarification's probably your best bet, though.
Something to consider, though, about permanent body mods is that they're permanent. What happens if you break up?
posted by windykites at 6:21 AM on November 14, 2012


Oooh or you guys could both get dredlocks and then trade one lock (you cut the lock off midway through and sew the other person's lock into your stub)! I've seen people do that and it's soooo cute! Some couples only have one lock each, and the rest of their hair is plain; they even position the dreadlock on their head in such a way that it can, if neccessary, be hidden by their other hair.
posted by windykites at 6:25 AM on November 14, 2012


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