Breast implants might save your life, study finds

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Silicon implants could be a more subtle option than the traditional bullet proof vest.

In 2010 a woman, who had breast implants, survived a gunshot thanks to the silicon implants in her chest.

The bullet fragments were millimetres from her heart and her vital organs. Had she not had the implant, she might not be alive today. She's one lucky woman.

That's what Beverly Hills cosmetic surgeon Dr Ashkan Ghavami told theLos Angeles Times around the time of the incident.

Could this have just been a freak bit of luck or was there some actual science behind the reason?

Researchers at the University of Utah have been trying to find out and their results are remarkable.

The experts carried out a series of ballistic tests on saline breast implants with a handgun to determine if the material could truly alter a bullets velocity and trajectory.

Implants were shot from a distance of 2.5 metres and were in front of a block of ballistics gelatin, which has a similar consistency to muscle tissue.

The results, published by the Journal of Forensic Sciences showed that an implant could stop a bullet penetrating the gelatin by up to 20.6 percent.

To put that in terms of distances, without the implant the bullet could penetrate the gelatin up to 40.2 centimetres. With the implant, it decreased to 31.9 centimetres.

The entrance and exit wounds were not in a straight line, so we thought the implant must have caused the bullet to slow down and alter its trajectory. You can think of them as tiny airbags.

Lead author Christopher Panucci told New Scientist.

However, we aren't recommending that everyone should now get breast implants just incase they get shot.

The implants didn't completely deflect the bullet like Superman could.

The bullets still significantly penetrated the gelatin by 31.9 centimetres which would significantly damage the implant and likely lead to other serious complications.

So, whilst you might receive a few more glances in public, those additions aren't the best fail safe against a gunshot.

HT IFLScienceNew ScientistLos Angeles TimesWiley Online Library

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