A 30-year-old woman in Canada is thankful to an unlikely source for keeping her alive after a gunshot wound – Her silicone breast implants! The Canadian woman, unnamed by medical experts and those investigating the shooting, was walking down a street when she reported that she started to feel some “heat and pain” in her left chest. She looked down to determine the cause of the discomfort and saw blood in the area of the pain and the heat. She went to the emergency room and was then transferred to the trauma center of the hospital by the emergency room doctors. The doctors were able to determine that the woman had been shot in the chest at close range. They also determined that the bullet fired by the gun was more than likely prevented from striking her heart by the silicone breast implants in her body.
In a case report that was published in Plastic Surgery Case Studies, the doctors that wrote the case study said the silicone implant “was likely responsible” for deflecting the trajectory of the bullet and saving the life of the woman. In addition, the doctors described the condition of the woman as “comfortable” and that she was not in any distress after the incident.
The woman suffered a single entry wound in her left breast. The doctors performed high resolution computer tomography (CT) scans on her and were able to determine that the bullet first entered the left breast of her body. They came to this conclusion thanks to the “debris and air” that were found in the examined area. Once the bullet entered the body of the woman, it was deflected by the silicone implant and then it entered the right breast where that silicone implant was discovered to be in a “completely flipped position”. An inspection of the breast area was performed to ensure the lack of additional damage in the area where the bullet entered the body before the doctors removed both breast implants.
In the case study, the doctors wrote “Based on trajectory of bullet entry clinically and evaluation radiologically, the only source of bullet deflection of the bullet is the left breast implant. This implant overlies the heart and intrathoracic cavity” and the doctors concluded that the implants likely saved the life of the patient.
Breast augmentation is one of the most popular cosmetic surgery procedures in the United States. As recently as 2018, there were 313,735 breast augmentation procedures performed in the United States (according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons). The placing of breast implants is performed to enhance the size and the shape of the breasts through the placement of breast implants under the chest muscle or behind the breast tissue. Breast implants that are placed in the body are filled with either silicone or saline which is sterile salt water. In general, breast augmentation is performed to give a patient a more contoured and larger appearance to the breasts by adding volume to the breasts. In addition, breast augmentation can give a more balanced appearance to breasts that are asymmetrical in nature.
In addition to the choice between silicone and saline implants, patients will have the decision between breast implants that are round or shaped as well as breast implants that are smooth or textured.
Finally, breast implants also have a range of sizes which is also known as profiles. Breast implants have profiles that range from moderate to moderate plus to a high profile. Breast implants with a high profile means they have more projection in their appearance.
As the Canadian woman that was saved by her silicone breast implants after a gunshot wound recovers, doctors are advising her to not get new breast implants for another six months. They will allow her to get new silicone breast implants, or even switch to saline breast implants, but she needs to wait for six months so she is able to heal properly.
Law enforcement officials are still investigating the shooting of the woman. At the time of the publication of this article, the shooter is still at large and the gun that fired the bullet has not been recovered by the police.