Brace yourself for a stomach-churning story.
A 30-year-old woman in Perth, Australia, who thought she had her braces removed 10 years ago discovered that wasn’t the case: One wire was still in her intestine.
At first, doctors thought the pain was caused by her gall bladder and sent her home after it stopped. But two days later, the woman returned to the hospital and doctors did a CT scan on her.
Doctors performed emergency surgery on the woman and removed a 2.8-inch-long piece of orthodontic wire that had pierced through several parts of the small intestine, causing the organ to twist around itself.
Dr. Talia Shepherd, one of the surgeons who operated on the woman, admits being shocked by the discovery.
“We were all a bit dumbfounded,” she told Popular Science. “It wasn’t what I was expecting to find at all.”
The patient told doctors her braces had been removed 10 years earlier, but she didn’t remember swallowing a piece of wire or having a wire go missing.
Shepherd, who wrote about the case in the latest edition of the British Medical Journal, said it’s remarkable that the wire stayed in the woman’s body for so long without causing pain or more serious injuries.
“People normally present much earlier,” she told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. “Kind of right after they’ve swallowed it or when it’s in the stomach really, because that’s obviously where it has a high risk of causing a perforation.”
Since the brace wire was removed, the patient has made a complete recovery, according to Shepherd.