The woman told doctors that she wore braces 10 years ago and has had them removed since. She also said she does not remember ingesting the wire or losing part of her braces, wrote Talia Shepherd, one of the doctors who treated the woman at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Nedlands in Western Australia.
“The case is so unique is because normally if you swallow something like that, it presents earlier,” Shepherd told Popular Science.
More typically, people unknowingly ingest things like fish bones instead of metallic objects, Shepherd said. And they usually realize it shortly after. In the woman’s case, she didn’t experience any pain until recently.
“We were all a bit dumbfounded,” Shepherd told the magazine. “It wasn’t what I was expecting to find at all.”
Accidentally ingesting foreign objects is not unheard of.
Last May, Live Science published a list of “11 Weird Things People Have Swallowed.” It includes small and pointed objects like a bobby pin and a dental instrument, as well as larger ones like a cellphone, a pen, a lighter and a toothbrush.
In a 2015 medical case from Saudi Arabia, doctors examining an X-Ray of a 16-month-old boy’s esophagus came face-to-face with an image of a smiling SpongeBob SquarePants. Ghofran Ageely, a radiology resident at King Abdulaziz University Hospital in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, told Live Science that the toddler had swallowed his older sister’s SpongeBob pendant.
Ageely said she initially thought it was a pin or a hair accessory because an X-ray of the child’s body from the side showed a thin object in his esophagus. She was shocked after looking at the frontal view.
“‘ SpongeBob,’ I screamed!!!” Ageely told Live Science in an email. “I was amazed by the visible details. You can see the freckles, shoes and fingers … AMAZING.”
Last May, a Texas mother warned other parents after her daughter accidentally swallowed a fidget spinner. They were in a car when she noticed her daughter choking, Kelly Rose Joniec wrote on her Facebook page, according to USA Today.
A recent report by a consumer watchdog group warned parents of the dangers of the popular toy, which it said has “the potential to lead to tragic or deadly consequences.”