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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 97-99

Non-traumatic, spontaneous subcutaneous emphysema: Diagnostic and therapeutic dilemma

Department of General Medicine, Vijayanagara Institute of Medical Sciences, Bellary, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
K Venugopal
Department of General Medicine, Vijayanagara Institute of Medical Sciences, Room No. 17, 17th Block, Bellary - 583 104, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2278-344X.154910

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Subcutaneous emphysema is not an uncommon condition and occurs following a chest injury or surgical procedures. Spontaneous subcutaneous emphysema (SSE) is a rare entity, it usually present when broncho-alveolar walls are weakened by chronic lung pathology and precipitated by chronic cough. Most widely accepted mechanism is rupture of broncho-alveolar walls with escape of air into the subcutaneous plane. Usually, it will be associated with pneumothorax or pneumomediastinum. However, its occurrence without pneumothorax or pneumomediastinum has been reported in the literature. We report a case of 46 years male presented with a history of cough of 1-month duration with swelling over the face, neck and upper part of the chest. The diagnosis of SSE without pneumothorax secondary to pulmonary tuberculosis was made by examination, confirmed by chest X-ray and computed tomography imaging. The probable mechanism in our patient could be due to the existence of pleural adhesions surrounded the point of rupture.

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