Implant FAQs

Q: How are x-series tags installed?

A: The x-series tags are typically sold pre-loaded inside injection assemblies (needles). We suggest that a professional medical person (medical doctor, registered nurse, etc.), professional body piercer, or professional body modification artist perform the installation according to suggested procedure indicated on documentation included in the kit. That means the installer will prep and lift the skin of the hand in the triangle area between the thumb and index finger, then insert the needle under the skin, deploy the tag, and remove the needle.

Q: Does the implantation procedure hurt?

A: The installation process (in the suggested location and orientation) is about as painful as giving blood, and slightly less painful as most typical body piercings. There is a slight sharp pinching sensation as the needle goes through the skin, but after that it’s very easy going. We’ve had people actually say “that’s it?” afterward.

Q: Does implantation leave a scar?

A: Yes, but the scar is very small and typically unnoticeable after only a few weeks.

Q: How long does it take to heal?

A: The injection site heals closed within only a few hours. The tag will sit in the fascia layer between dermis and muscle, and it takes one to two weeks for the body to encapsulate it in fibrous tissue. This process is important to ensure the tag does not migrate under the skin, so do not push or press or mess with the tag under the skin during this time. Light use of your hand is ok, but try to leave the tag alone for at least two weeks.

During the healing process, two things will happen. During implantation, the needle places the tag under the skin, but during healing it will move back toward the incision site a few millimeters. This is why it is critical that the person performing the implantation pushes the needle in several millimeters past the incision site before placing the tag. The other thing that will happen is the implant may feel itchy during the first 30-60 days. This is normal, and will subside after the tag gets fully encapsulated by the body. Light scratching is ok to sooth the itchy feeling, but don’t dig at your skin or the tag.

Q: Can the implant be seen under the skin? Can you feel it? Is it painful or uncomfortable?

A: In most people’s hands the implant can’t be seen. It will rest just under the skin without creating a visible bump, and will only show when tightly gripping large rounded objects your hand wraps around. Some people have very little fat in their fascia layer, particularly in their hands, and in certain cases the tag can be seen even when the hand is relaxed. Once the tag is fully healed in place, it’s impossible to feel under the skin. It is not painful or uncomfortable, even when using your hands normally. Sometimes the thin layer of skin covering the tag will get pinched between the tag and another hard sharp surface, and you may experience a slight painful pinching sensation. For example, I would close my car door by sliding my hand across the top edge while it was closing, and this would roll the tag over that edge and it would give me that pinch feeling, so I had to change that behavior.

Q: Is it easy to remove or replace later?

A: We’ve designed our x-series glass tag implantable transponders for easy removal. Unlike animal transponders, we do not coat our implantable transponders with biobond or parylene, making removal easy. Check out this blog post for more information and a video explaining removal.

Q: How durable are these implants? I shoot guns / rock climb / do martial arts / fight super villains, etc.

A: All of our 2x12mm injectable implants are encapsulated in biosafe glass, so they are not indestructible. However, the hundreds of xEM and xM1 tags sold that have been installed in the correct orientation and in the suggested location in the hand (between thumb and index finger), we have had no reports of any of them breaking. Outside the body, they can be shattered somewhat easily if they encounter a hard surface, particularly the edge of a hard surface. Once inside the body however, the skin and tissue surrounding the tag do an excellent job of buffering any blunt force impacts the tag may encounter. I personally have smashed my left hand several times, and once even hit it with the head of a steel hammer, directly over my tag. So far I’ve had no issues what so ever.

We’ve also done various tests on these glass tags, including crush testing, liquid nitrogen dunk testing, and vacuum and pressure testing. In all cases, our glass implantable tags stood up to;

– 500N of force, maxing out the machine’s ability to produce additional force
– No glass degradation after exposure to 0.482mBar pressure (nearly perfect vacuum)
– No glass degradation and immediate function 5 seconds after removal from liquid nitrogen
– No glass degradation after exposure to 6 bar, or approximately 87psi of pressure

In December 2013 we thought we a report of a tag breaking, but after a short call and a visit with one of our partners for removal, the tag removed tag appeared to be intact. It was shipped back to us where we could look at the tag under a low power microscope and determined it was not broken.

Q: Can I install an x-series glass transponder into another area in my hand, maybe the palm side?

A: Many customers ask if it would be ok to install one of our glass transponders into another area of the hand, possibly the palm. We do not recommend that our x-series tags be installed anywhere but the suggested location between the thumb and index finger metacarpal bones. The reason for this is that the x-series tags are glass coated, meaning even though we tested them with a series of force meter tests, they should not be subjected to unnecessary stress or force. Placing a transponder in any other area of the hand will introduce additional risk, and placing one in the palm side of the hand or anywhere that exerts grip on objects, would surely result in broken glass.

Q: Can I install multiple transponders in same hand, or install one in hands with magnets?

A: It is not recommended that multiple transponders be installed into the same hand. There are interference issues and also an elevated risk of breakage. You may, however, safely install a transponder into a hand with magnets installed, as long as the magnets are not within 2 inches (5cm) of the transponder.

Q: Are RFID/NFC implants compatible with MRI machines?

A: Yes. We have had past customers with both xEM (125KHz) and xM1 (13.56MHz) tags go through MRI machines of the 1T, 1.5T, and 3T strengths just fine. There is blurring of the image around the area of the tag, but the tag itself does not heat up or explode or get “ripped out”. Also, the MythBusters were kind enough to prove this for us in season 5, episode 19 (MythBusters Revolution) by implanting both a piece of a pig and Kari Byron with a 134KHz VeriChip tag and running them both through an MRI scan. You can clearly see the image distortion in the episode if you’re interested in seeing what it does to the MRI image.

Here is a PubMed article on RFID transponder compatibility with MRI machines up to 3T; – Functionality of veterinary identification microchips following low- (0.5 tesla) and high-field (3 tesla) magnetic resonance imaging.

There is also an MRI Safety website entry for the commercial VeriChip, sold between 2004 and 2010.

Q: Is there any problem using an induction oven with an RFID/NFC implant?

A: No. Induction ovens operate at less than 100KHz. I have tested both our xEM 125KHz tag and our xM1 13.56MHz tag with several induction ovens, both with and without cooking pots on them, and there has been no adverse effects, no heating, no destruction of the tag, etc. I tested by affixing the tag to a wooden dowel with cellophane tape, turning on the oven cooktop element to “full”, then doing the following;

– placed the tag physically on the induction element for 30 seconds

– held the tag above the induction element at 1cm and 5cm height for 30 seconds each

– placed a cooking pot with water in it on the induction element and placed the tag physically on the induction element and 2cm away from the cooking pot (so the heat from the pot would not affect the test) for 15 seconds

– placed the tag at the bottom of the cooking pot (under water) for 5 seconds shortly after turning up the element to “full”.

In all instances, the tag came out just fine.

Q: Will I have problems at metal detectors, airports, court houses, etc.

A: No. I’ve had both my implants (one in each hand) for 8+ years now, and I’ve gone through several metal detectors, had metal detector wands run over my hands specifically (at my request), and even gone through several full body scanners at US airports and I’ve never had a problem. The amount of metal in the tag is about the same as a tooth filling, so it is not enough to set off even the most sensitive metal detector.

Q: Can I clone my work/school access card to my implant?

A: Ok, this is a big one. In short, the answer is – maybe. It all depends on the type of chip your work/school/home access card is using internally. If your source card/tag/fob is a 125kHz EM or HID Prox chip, then you can clone that ID into our xEM implant using our cloner. At this time, none of our products in the 13.56MHz frequency range can be reprogrammed with new IDs.


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