Extensive subcutaneous emphysema: iatrogenic

Case contributed by Dr Sajoscha Sorrentino


Patient presented with dyspnea due to (now known) malignant pleural effusion. Effusion was drained and chest x-ray showed pneumothorax, whereupon a chest tube was inserted ...

Patient Data

Age: 65
Gender: Female

Extensive subcutaneous emphysema

Extensive subcutaneous emphysema due to a misplaced chest tube, connecting the still present pneumothorax and the subcutis.

Case Discussion

Subcutaneous emphysema, strictly speaking, refers to air in the subcutaneous tissues. But the term is generally used to describe any soft tissue emphysema of the body wall or limbs, since the air often dissects into the deeper soft tissue and musculature along fascial planes.

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Case information

rID: 16291
Published: 7th Jan 2012
Last edited: 13th Aug 2019
System: Chest
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included

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