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Rev Med Inst Mex Seguro Soc. 2019 Mar 15;56(6):566-569.

Benign recurrent subcutaneous emphysema of the upper limbs in a teenager

[Article in Spanish; Abstract available in Spanish from the publisher]

Author information

Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social, Hospital General Regional de Zona 1, Unidad “Morelos”, Servicio de Medicina Interna. Chihuahua, Chihuahua, México


in English, Spanish


The physiological properties of the interstitial subcutaneous tissue of the limbs could bring the abnormal distribution of air coming from superficial trauma of the skin. We present the case of a young woman who developed subcutaneous emphysema after a superficial trauma and discussed the differential diagnosis and treatment.

Clinical case:

A teenager woman 13 years old had subcutaneous emphysema in the left arm, following the scratch produced by her cat, of two months of evolution, without signs suggestive of local or systemic infection, it was resolved spontaneously during the period of observation. During this period she also presented subcutaneous emphysema in the right arm as a complication of a peripheral venous access performed for the administration of parenteral solutions, in the same way, it resolved spontaneously within a few days.


Benign subcutaneous emphysema is a rare clinical condition which should be considered only after the exclusion of other pathologies that require a more aggressive early medical intervention, such as necrotizing fasciitis, which, if not detected in a timely manner, could endanger life.


Subcutaneous Emphysema; Necrotizing Fascitis; Wounds and Injuries

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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