Every so often a news story comes to light about how a woman was shot in the chest by a handgun and her life was saved by her breast implants. The stories all have a similar theme: woman gets shot, breast implants prevent bullet from hitting vital organs.
You can chalk this story up to being “mostly untrue”. While breast implants can impede the forward momentum and progress of a bullet, it’s not enough to save your life in most scenarios.
Christopher Pannucci, a plastic surgeon out of Utah performed an experiment. He and his colleagues analyzed bullets that were shot through breast implants into ballistics gel – which is a gelatinous substance that is designed to mimic human tissue.
The handgun they used fired bullets at 300 meters per second into blocks of ballistics gel 2.5 meters away. They then measured how deep the bullet penetrated. Afterwards, they added a few large saline breast implants in front of the gel and shot it again. They found that the implant reduced the average distance the bullet traveled into the gel by about 20%.
Let’s say that the average human chest cavity is 6” deep. This means if you had breast implants and were shot with a handgun, the bullet would only go 5” deep into your chest cavity. That’s still a mortal wound no matter which way you look at it.
Pannucci performed the experiment after he treated a woman who survived a close-range gunshot. The bullet entered her body around the nipple area, went through the implant and exited her armpit. Seeing that the entrance and exit wounds were not in a straight line, he surmised that the implant played some role in at least slowing down the bullet.
There are a few caveats to this story and experiment. The woman who was shot had 390 cubic centimeter (volume) implants. The large implants that were used in the experiment had a volume of 750cc’s. The “20% reduction rate” of bullet travel that the experiment found is most likely due to the large size of the implant that was used. In other words, if your implants are smaller than 750cc’s, there is a good chance the penetration stoppage power of the implant will be less than 20%.
If you have implants and are currently in the process of applying to be a body guard, you might want to hold off on the job application. Breast implants were not intended to stop projectiles such as bullets and knives. A knife and/or bullet can easily penetrate through an implant.
Simply put: if you have implants and work in a job where getting shot or stabbed is a potential job hazard, you should probably wear a bullet or stab-proof vest while at work. Having your implants get ruptured can lead to serious medical complications as the gel can literally go everywhere inside your chest cavity.
Can Implants Help?
So far, we’ve learned that implants cannot stop a bullet and there could be potentially life or limb threatening emergencies if they are ruptured while inside your body cavity.
But can implants help prevent a bullet from mortally injuring you – even a little bit?
There have been some reports in the media in which a woman’s life was saved by her implants. In 2010 a California woman was shot and wounded when a gunman opened fire in a dental office. A Beverly Hills plastic surgeon was quoted as saying “The bullet fragments were millimeters from her heart and her vital organs. Had she not had the implant, she might not be alive today.”
As with any news story, we need to dig deeper for the facts of the situation. The woman who was shot had size-D breast implants. The story does not say how many cc’s they were, but the fact that the implants were larger than normal seemed to agree with the results of the study performed by Dr. Pannucci.
It’s safe to say that breast implants cannot stop a bullet. If you have implants and get shot or stabbed, there is a very minute chance they could marginally protect you. However, bullets and knives are designed to destroy whatever they come in contact with. This means the implant in your breast will most likely rupture and can spill the contents inside your body cavity, which will result in severe medical complications.
Simply put: If you have implants and find yourself in a life-threatening situation, you shouldn’t stick your chest out like Superman and attempt to stop the bad guy.
If you’re looking to get breast augmentation surgery in Dallas, Texas, give Dr. Adams a call at 214-965-9885 or schedule a consultation online. The office of Dr. Adams is conveniently located 30 minutes from DFW airport and 15 minutes from Love Field Airport.