A 12-year-old boy began mysteriously experiencing nausea and seizures. A CT scan showed that a wire from his braces had entered his brain.

A recent case report from a medical journal described a case where a wire from an adolescent child’s braces managed to migrate into his brain and cause seizures. 

The report, published in Radiology Case Reports, describes a 12-year-old boy who was taken to urgent care with severe nausea, vomiting and seizures. 

The boy had his braces replaced a month earlier and two weeks later began complaining of jaw pain. The family also said that they were no longer able to see the wire. After a visit to an urgent care clinic, he was prescribed antibiotics for what they thought was a gland infection.

However in the weeks afterward the boy’s symptoms worsened. He started feeling nauseous and was having absence seizures where he would stare off for a few seconds, interrupting his speech and briefly losing awareness before returning to normal. The boy also began speaking primarily in Spanish, even though he previously primarily spoke in English.

The urgent care clinic referred his family to an outside hospital where a CT scan showed that his missing wire had migrated into his temporal lobe through the foramen ovale, damaging some veins but narrowly missing the larger arteries. Damaging an artery in the brain could have caused an aneurysm with a significant chance of death, the report noted. 

X-rays confirmed the presence of a metal object in his brain and he was given medicine to prevent infection. The wire was eventually removed without complications. He was discharged two days later.

In the aftermath, the boy continued to suffer from seizures, dizziness and blurry vision. He also experienced instances of uncontrolled laughter, something known as gelastic seizures. A month later his symptoms began to subside and further tests showed that he suffered no long term damage to his nerves or arteries.

Image via Case Report