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Case Reports in Otolaryngology
Volume 2013, Article ID 154857, 3 pages
Case Report

Subcutaneous Emphysema and Pneumomediastinum after Tonsillectomy

1ENT Department, Tzanion General Hospital, Afentouli 1 & Zanni, 18536 Piraeus , Greece
2ENT Department, Medical School, Democritus University of Thrace, University Hospital of Alexandroupolis, Dragana, 68100 Alexandroupoli, Greece

Received 23 July 2013; Accepted 23 October 2013

Academic Editors: M.-K. Chen, J. I. De Diego, E. Mevio, and S. Ulualp

Copyright © 2013 George Koukoutsis et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Cervicofacial subcutaneous emphysema is a rare complication of tonsillectomy that often resolves spontaneously but may progress to obstruct upper airways or spread to the thorax causing pneumomediastinum or pneumothorax. The mechanisms by which subcutaneous emphysema and pneumomediastinum may develop after tonsillectomy are poorly understood. A case of a 21-year-old female undergoing routine adenotonsillectomy, who developed cervicofacial emphysema and pneumomediastinum, is presented. Possible pathogenetic mechanisms and treatment options are discussed.