Subcutaneous emphysema

Case contributed by Dr M Sanal Kumar


Breathing difficulty following blunt trauma to the chest.

Patient Data

Age: 75 years
Gender: Female

Patient presented with breathing difficulty following trauma. Chest tubes where inserted following which she developed diffuse subcutaneous emphysema.

Case Discussion

The mechanism of development of subcutaneous emphysema or pneumomediastinum is attributed to Macklin effect:

  • alveolar rupture
  • air dissection along bronchovascular structures
  • spreading of pulmonary interstitial emphysema to other planes
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Case information

rID: 36739
Published: 11th May 2015
Last edited: 16th Dec 2019
System: Trauma, Chest
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included