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CASE REPORT
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 81-83

Acute subcutaneous laterocervical emphysema and pneumomediastinum secondary to inferior third molar extraction


Department of Diagnostic Medicine, Institute of Radiology, IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo Foundation, Pavia, Italy

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Roberta Catania
Department of Diagnostic Medicine, Institute of Radiology, IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo Foundation, Pavia
Italy
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jomr.jomr_24_17

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Subcutaneous laterocervical emphysema and pneumomediastinum are often due to head and neck surgery, but these are uncommon complications of dental procedures. The use of high-speed air-turbine headpieces during dental extractions is sometimes associated with this complication, making simple the spread of air under sublingual, submandibular, retropharyngeal, and parapharyngeal spaces, routes of communication to the mediastinum. Due to its rarity, it is not simple to recognize, often confused with other complications after oral surgery, such as allergic reaction, hematoma, and infections. We present a case of subcutaneous laterocervical emphysema and pneumomediastinum after inferior impacted third molar tooth extraction, self-limiting with a conservative therapy. We need to focus on this case because it is often misdiagnosed by physicians in emergency department as an allergic reaction. We also underline the importance of an empiric antibiotic therapy to prevent spreading of oral microorganism causing severe mediastinitis and sepsis. To avoid these complications, high-speed air-turbine headpieces should be used only when it is essential.


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