An Australian woman had a small piece of orthodontic wire removed from her intestines 10 years after she had her dental braces removed.
The 30-year-old Perth woman arrived a number of months ago at the emergency department at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Nedlands complaining of severe abdominal pain, when doctors discovered a piece of wire had pierced her small intestine.
“She was so unwell that we had to take her to theatre straight away to extract whatever it was, and it turned out to be a 7-centimeter piece of orthodontic wire from braces she had 10 years earlier,” Dr. Talia Shepherd told ABC Radio Perth.
At first doctors suspected the woman may have swallowed a fish bone, but the woman had no recollection of swallowing one.
Shepherd eventually discovered the item was actually a wire from the woman’s dental braces, which she had removed 10 years earlier.
“I think it was probably just sitting there in her stomach the whole time, and then when the small bowel was punctured, that’s when the pain started,” Shepherd said.
The wire had pierced the intestine in multiple spots and began to twist around itself, obstructing the intestine and causing a condition known as volvulus.
Shepherd said the situation was incredibly uncommon and people with braces shouldn’t be concerned about a similar incident.
“The chances of swallowing a wire from your braces is very low,” she said. “There might be a higher chance if you’re sedated and undergo a dental procedure. But this is a very unusual case.”
Thankfully, after 10 years in her abdomen, the wire has not done any lasting damage.
“She is now well and carrying on with her life,” Dr Shepherd said.