Breast augmentation is one of the most common procedures performed by plastic surgeons. A woman’s silicone breast implants miraculously deflected and saved her life from what could have been a fatal bullet as reported by Canadian doctors.

A 30-year-old woman was walking down a street in Toronto, in 2018, when she suddenly experienced pain and heat on the left side of her chest. She immediately noticed blood gushing out and, then rushed to a local emergency room.

“We report the first case in the literature of a 30-year-old female patient with silicone breast implants altering bullet trajectory and thereby saving her life,” said the doctors in the report.

On observation, she was found to have an obvious gunshot wound that was located above her left nipple. She was, then, transferred to a different trauma center.

Doctors found out that the bullet ended up in her lower right chest wall, underneath her breast. The patient was doing remarkably fine otherwise.

“The entry wound demonstrated thermal injury surrounding the bullet hole indicating close proximity to the discharging firearm. A hard, subcutaneous, bullet-like mass was also palpable in the right lower anterior thoracic wall inferior to the right breast,” the doctors said.

She was, then, operated to remove both of her silicone breast implants. That was when the surgeons found that the bullet had clearly traveled through one of the implants, which deflected it over to the other implant with enough force that it flipped the right implant upside down. They also noted that the bullet traveled through the breast tissue before getting embedded in the right chest.

It is likely that the deflection saved her life. However, she suffered a fractured right rib and, subsequently, lost her breast implants. After removing the implants and the bullet, her wound was cleaned. She was put on antibiotics as a precaution. She, then, recovered perfectly fine.

“The only source of deflection is the patient’s silicone implant. On clinical examination of the removed implant, an oblique tract through the implant lines up with both tracts across the chest wall. This indicates that deflection occurred within the implant likely at the point of the bullet pressing in on and rupturing the implant membrane. Both clinical and radiologic evidence support this theory of bullet deflection,” said the doctors.

silicone gel breast implant
A silicone gel breast implant manufactured by the now-defunct French company Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) is displayed at the Paris Breast Center in Paris, Dec. 28, 2011. Reuters/Benoit Tessier