A woman had wire from her braces stuck in her stomach for ten years without realising.

Those among us who have experienced the pure joy at having a mouth full of metal removed after years of straightening goodness will tell you there is nothing more satisfying.

Okay, perhaps there is one thing that’s more rewarding: having a 7 cm piece of wire from said braces removed from your stomach a full ten years later.

Yes. This is a thing that actually happened.

How did these... end up... there?

In a case study published in medical journal BMJ Case Reports, Dr. Talia Shephard writes that a 30-year-old woman presented at a hospital in Western Australia with severe abdominal pain and cramping.

The woman was was otherwise healthy, and was released. Two days later, she returned to the emergency department.

A CT scan of her abdomen revealed "a metallic wire-shaped foreign body" had punctured several places in her small intestine.

wire braces in stomach
The woman's scan. Image via BMJ.

"At first we thought it was a fish bone, because that's a pretty common thing to find in the stomach," Dr. Shepherd told CNN.

"But when we went to ask the patient if she remembered swallowing anything, she had no recollection."

With the woman's pain worsening, doctors decided to remove the object with emergency surgery. They discovered the object that had perforated her bowel was actually a "7cm piece of orthodontic wire".


The woman had not worn braces for 10 years, and had no memory of ingesting the wire, or having the wire from her braces go missing while she was receiving orthodontic treatment.

"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," Dr. Shepherd said.

But, never fear, because the chances of this happening to the Average Jill are "pretty low".

"There might be a higher chance if you're sedated and undergo a dental procedure. But this is a very unusual case," Dr. Shepherd said.

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