Terrifying news for anyone who's ever had braces: A woman who wore braces 10 years ago found out she still had parts of them — in her belly.
The 30-year-old Australian woman went to the hospital with complaints of severe stomach pain and cramping, Dr. Talia Shepherd reported in the medical journal BMJ Case Reports. At first, doctors thought it might be issues from her gall bladder. So after the pain went away, she was sent back home.
But then she came back two days later with the same exact problem. So the professionals took her to the CT scanner, and they spotted the problem area.
“We saw that in the middle quite a large loop of dilated, unhappy bowel with this foreign body that could possibly have been a fish bone, because that is what we see more commonly," Dr. Shepard said. “It turned out to be a seven-centimeter piece of orthodontic wire from braces she had 10 years earlier.”
As it turned out, this piece of wire had pierced the poor woman's intestine in multiple spots, causing a condition that made the intestine twist around itself. Yikes! We confess, we're in pain just looking at this picture.
It gets even stranger. The woman said she had no recollection of ever swallowing the wire back when she had braces. And it took a decade for her to feel this type of intense pain from the wire in its new home.
"I think it was probably just sitting there in her stomach the whole time,” Dr. Shepherd said. “And then when the small bowel was punctured, that's when the pain started.”
As odd as this story is, it has a happy ending: The wire did not cause any permanent damage to the woman's intestine.
"She is now well and carrying on with her life," Dr. Shepherd said.
As she should!