A woman, who had survived cancer, lost her breast implant while she was doing a Pilates exercise. The occurrence was so unbelievable that it was recently published online in a report by the New England Journal of Medicine.
The 59-year-old woman from Baltimore, Md., had been performing the Valsalva maneuver when she felt the implant disappear into her body.
The woman was taken to John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. Remarkably, she said upon arriving to the hospital that she was not experiencing any shortness of breath or pain, despite the implant being lodged in the space between her lungs and chest.
The woman was a breast cancer survivor who had a double mastectomy, and afterward had chosen to receive breast implants. During the Pilates routine, she was doing a breathing technique known as the Valsalva maneuver. This technique requires a person to take a deep breath and hold it in while at the same time trying to forcibly exhale, putting tremendous pressure on the chest cavity.
Dr. Anthony Youn, a Michigan-based cosmetic surgeon who did not treat the woman told MSNBC, "I can picture how this could happen in a freak occurrence."
"What likely happened in this instance is that the breast implant was placed under the chest muscle and on top of the ribs, an extremely common practice in breast reconstruction," Youn said.
Reports state that the woman had also undergone surgery to repair her heart's mitral valve, a procedure that typically involves some separating of the muscles that run between the ribs.
"When the patient Valsalva'd, the pectoralis (chest) muscle likely contracted and pushed the implant through the space between her ribs," which was particularly fragile after the valve surgery, according to the report.
"The weakened scar tissue was easily torn, and the strength of the pectoralis muscle pushed the implant deep into her chest," Youn added.
Surgeons at the hospital were able to return the implant to the proper location.