Heart Health

25 April 2020

Woman’s breast implant probably saved her from bullet

This is one of only a few documented case studies where a silicone breast implant changed the trajectory of a bullet, likely saving a woman’s life.

In a remarkable case study, a woman from Ontario, Canada, had a narrow escape after being hit by a bullet in a shooting incident.

This medical case study was first published on 15 April 2020. Breast augmentation with silicone implants remains one of the most performed operations by plastic surgeons, and in this case the silicone implant was probably responsible for deflecting the bullet’s trajectory.

The woman was walking down the street when she suddenly felt heat and pain in her left breast and saw blood when she looked down. The firearm was never recovered, and the shooter remains unknown.

She was transferred to a trauma unit, where she remained in a stable condition with only one wound where the bullet entered her body. During the examination, the medical team observed a hard, bullet-like mass on the right side of her chest. X-rays confirmed that the bullet was still lodged in her body.

Implant saved her life

The bullet entered her chest on the left side and was deflected through the right thoracic wall, where it became lodged.

The woman suffered slight damage to lung tissue and a fractured rib.

The team removed the damaged implants and then the bullet. As the left implant lay over the heart and intrathoracic cavity, it is likely that it saved the women’s life, according to the case study. The X-rays and clinical examination prove that if it weren't for the implant, the bullet might have struck her heart.

"Based on trajectory of bullet entry clinically and evaluation radiologically, the only source of bullet deflection of the bullet is the left breast implant," the authors stated in the report.

"This trajectory change could only have been due to the bullet hitting the implant in our patient's case, as the bullet did not hit bone on the left side (as evidenced by lack of left-sided fracture and a bullet that retained enough energy to cause right-sided fractures)."

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