Wire from dental braces removed from woman's bowel after ten years

Henrietta Brewer
August 9, 2017

A woman had a piece of braces wire, center white strip, lodged in her small intestine, for 10 years, according to a case study from BMJ published on August 7, 2017.

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.

She didn't remember swallowing any wire from her braces during the time she had them on her teeth, she said.

An Australian woman, who showed up to the emergency department complaining of severe stomach pain, got the surprise of a lifetime. But as days persisted, the pain came back and doctors took a closer look.

We were never good at science in school but your small intestine is the stop gap between your stomach and large intestine, and absorbs nutrients and allows non-absorbed food to head to the large intestine.

"The other thing that we see not infrequently are fish bones", added Shepherd.

If you've ever accidentally swallowed the spacers or rubber bands used with your braces, we have the ultimate horror story for you. "The patient had not worn orthodontic braces for 10 years and did not recall ingesting the wire or having her braces wire go missing".

"The chances of swallowing a wire from your braces is very low", said Shepherd.

Gastroenterologist Dr. Pat Raymond said that it was odd that the patient didn't remember swallowing the wire.

At first, doctors believed the woman was suffering from upper abdominal cramping because of her gall bladder, Sheperd told ABC Radio Perth.

However, doctors say this is a lesson for the medical world.

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