Subcutaneous Emphysema Related to Dental Treatment: A Case Series

Rieko Shimizu, Shintaro Sukegawa, Yuka Sukegawa, Kazuaki Hasegawa, Sawako Ono, Ai Fujimura, Izumi Yamamoto, Soichiro Ibaragi, Akira Sasaki, Yoshihiko Furuki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Cervicofacial subcutaneous emphysema (SE) is primarily caused by dental treatment introducing gas into the subcutaneous tissue. Air rapidly dissects into the subcutaneous tissue with face and neck swelling, leading to respiratory distress, patient discomfort, and chest pain. Computed tomography (CT) can detect spreading SE patterns. However, the true volume of SE and the degree of air changes in the body over time remain unknown. We evaluated the healing process of SE and the temporal changes in the volume of emphysema in three cases detected using our hospital’s electronic health record systems based on inclusion and exclusion criteria over the past 10 years, with CT and three-dimensional (3D) images. The first case was a 46-year-old woman who presented with complaints of swelling from her right eyelid to the neck and clavicles, pain on swallowing, respiratory distress, and hoarseness. The second case was a 35-year-old man who presented with complaints of swelling over the face. The third case was a 36-year-old man who presented with complaints of swelling from the left cheek to the neck. CT revealed SE and pneumomediastinum in all cases. All the patients were administered an antibacterial drug. The CT and 3D images showed an improvement in emphysema 3 days after the onset, with more than half of the volume reduction in emphysema. This made it possible to evaluate the changes in the air content of SE. Observation with CT until the healing process of SE is completed is crucial, and 3D images also help evaluate changes over time.

Original languageEnglish
Article number290
JournalHealthcare (Switzerland)
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022


  • 3D images
  • Computed tomography
  • Dental treatment
  • Subcutaneous emphysema

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Health Policy
  • Health Information Management
  • Leadership and Management


Dive into the research topics of 'Subcutaneous Emphysema Related to Dental Treatment: A Case Series'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this