Subcutaneous emphysema

Case contributed by Mr Andrew Murphy


Man versus propeller

Patient Data

Age: 40 years
Gender: Male

There is extensive subcutaneous emphysema on the right aspect of the chest, alongside an obvious soft tissue defect. Pneumomediastinum extending into the neck with a paratracheal stripe.


Ribs 4-8 of the right side are fractures, with 5-8 are comminuted with anterior displacement; some of these bone fragments are resting on the adjacent lung.

Subcutaneous emphysema is seen in the neck, hemithorax of the right side and the lateral portion of the lateral wall of the abdomen.

The pneumomediastinum seen in the CXR is mostly superior.

Right sided pneumothorax and tiny haemothorax.

Small contusions of the right lower and upper lobe.

Case Discussion

Subcutaneous emphysema will be absorbed over time by the body, it is the associated injuries that have cause the subcutaneous emphysema that can be problematic. In this particular case, it was via a boat propeller injury to the right thorax. 

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Case information

rID: 48420
Case created: 6th Oct 2016
Last edited: 6th Oct 2016
System: Chest, Trauma
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included

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