Extensive subcutaneous emphysema - iatrogenic

Case contributed by Dr Sajoscha Sorrentino


Dyspnea due to malignant pleural effusion of unknown etiology. Effusion was drained and chest x-ray showed pneumothorax, whereupon a chest tube was inserted.

Patient Data

Age: 65 years
Gender: Female

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

Note: This case has been tagged as "legacy" as it no longer meets image preparation and/or other case publication guidelines

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 tissues and musculature along fascial planes.

PlayAdd to Share

Case information

rID: 16291
Published: 7th Jan 2012
Last edited: 13th Aug 2020
System: Chest
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included