Straightening dental wire twists intestines of a woman—a decade later

Enlarge / The CT scan reveals the wire (small white line in center) that was causing the woman’s abdominal pain. (credit: BMJ Case Reports)

Years after straightening teeth, the thin metal wires from orthodontic braces can end up twisting intestines, according to a report published Monday in BMJ Case Reports.

Australian doctors found a seven-centimeter bit of dental brace wire in the bowels of an otherwise healthy 30-year-old woman. She told doctors she had her braces removed 10 years earlier and didn’t recall swallowing or missing any bits of wire.

The case seemed to flabbergast her doctors. Most of the time, if an inert foreign object reaches a person’s intestines, it can pass the rest of the way without a problem. But things that do end up getting stuck tend to do so at the sphincter muscle valve that separates the small and large intestines. In the case of the woman in Australia, the wire was caught tearing up and twisting the middle of her small intestine.

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Ars Technica

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