Piece of dental braces removed from woman’s intestine after 10 years
Piece of dental braces removed from woman’s intestine after 10 years:- Brace yourself for this story: Ten years after her orthodontic braces were removed, a piece of dental wire was found stuck inside an Australian woman’s small intestine.
Dr. Talia Shepherd, one of the treating physicians, said the 30-year-old woman showed up at the emergency department of Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Western Australia complaining of cramping and severe abdominal pain. The situation was reported in a study published Monday in the medical journal BMJ Case Reports.
Initially, doctors thought the woman’s pain was related to her gallbladder, and she was released once the pain alleviated. Two days later, she returned to the emergency department, again complaining of extreme pain.
It wasn’t until Shepherd and the other doctors did a CT scan that they discovered an object had punctured several places in the woman’s small intestine. The small intestine, between the stomach and large intestine, is responsible for absorbing nutrients and allowing non-absorbed food to pass to the large intestine.
“After looking at the CT scan, at first we thought it was a fish bone, because that’s a pretty common thing to find in the stomach,” Shepherd said. “But when we went to ask the patient if she remembered swallowing anything, she had no recollection.”
Because the intestine had been pierced in multiple spots, it had twisted around on itself, causing a condition known as volvulus. This, along with the extreme pain the woman was experiencing, led doctors to determine that emergency surgery was needed.
The woman had not worn orthodontic braces for 10 years, but after the surgery, the doctors found that what had perforated her bowel was actually a 7-centimeter piece of wire, presumably from her braces.
Shepherd said the case is so unusual because of the 10 years the wire went unnoticed.
“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,” she said.
However, Shepherd also said those who have braces shouldn’t be alarmed.
“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.”
Dr. Pat Raymond, a gastroenterologist and assistant professor of clinical internal medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School, also thinks the case is unusual because the patient did not remember swallowing anything.
“Usually, when people have an injury related to swallowing something, they remember accidentally swallowing it or intentionally swallowing it,” said Raymond, who is also a spokeswoman for the American College of Gastroenterology. “But that she doesn’t remember getting a relatively large piece of wire down there a decade before is strange.”