My husband and I have both had our nipples pierced since early 2005.
He has had beginning infections a few times over the years, I haven't.
The healing time feels like forever because of where it is at.- I preferred to wear a bra almost 24/7 during the healing time as it reduced the chances of the area being jarred.
As for whether to go with bars or rings, it is a personal preference thing. The Wookie prefers bars and I am good with either.
I don't know if that helps you or not but the best of luck, whatever you decide to do.