Traumatic subcutaneous emphysema is a rare condition caused by air or gas that has been forced into the subcutaneous tissue. This can be caused by physical trauma, such as a deep wound, crush injury, or blunt force trauma, as well as iatrogenic causes, such as medical procedures or surgeries.
Diagnosis of traumatic subcutaneous emphysema can be made based on physical examination that reveals air or gas pockets beneath the skin. Imaging studies such as X-ray or CT scan may be used to confirm the diagnosis.
The differential diagnosis for traumatic subcutaneous emphysema includes other conditions that cause subcutaneous air or gas pockets, such as spontaneous pneumomediastinum, pneumothorax, and barotrauma.
Treatment of traumatic subcutaneous emphysema is primarily supportive, and may include elevation of the affected limb, wound care, and antibiotics if infection is present. If necessary, a draining procedure may be performed or a chest tube may be inserted to relieve pressure.
The prognosis for traumatic subcutaneous emphysema is generally good, with most patients making a full recovery. Complications may occur if infection is present or if the condition is left untreated.