A Canadian woman can credibly say that her breast implants saved her life. The unnamed 30-year-old had been walking in Toronto in 2018 when she felt pain on the left side of her chest, looked down, and saw blood, per Gizmodo. She went to the emergency room, where she learned she'd been shot above her left nipple. But apart from a fractured right rib, she was relatively fine. That's because her breast implants had taken the brunt of the blow, as doctors now describe in the journal Plastic Surgery Case Studies. The bullet had traveled through her left implant, then deflected to her right implant, which was struck so forcefully that it "completely flipped." Doctors at a trauma center removed both implants and the copper-jacketed 0.40 caliber bullet, which had finally embedded in the lower right chest wall.
The woman, given antibiotics and advised not to get new implants for at least six months, recovered fully, lead author Giancarlo McEvenue, a plastic surgeon, tells Gizmodo, which notes the left implant likely saved the woman's life as it sat atop her heart. A 2017 study found an implant could reduce the distance a bullet traveled by an average of 20%, per New Scientist, but McEvenue could find just four other medical cases where a breast implant had actually been struck by a bullet. In slowing the projectile, the implant likely saved the life of the victim in half of those cases, McEvenue says, though other doctors warn of complications from the implant being struck. It's unclear where the bullet came from in the 2018 case. Police never found the weapon or the person who fired it, according to the case report. (This case is remarkably similar.)