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What is subcutaneous emphysema?

8 doctors weighed in
Dr. Stephen Cassivi
Surgery - Thoracic
6 doctors agree

In brief: Air under the skin

Subcutaneous emphysema is a medical term used to indicate a condition where pockets of air have collected underneath the skin.
This most often happens after chest surgery and frequently indicates that there has been an air leak from the lung or airways. It will dissipate or go away when the air leak has healed or is better controlled. This condition is temporary and not lifethreatening.

In brief: Air under the skin

Subcutaneous emphysema is a medical term used to indicate a condition where pockets of air have collected underneath the skin.
This most often happens after chest surgery and frequently indicates that there has been an air leak from the lung or airways. It will dissipate or go away when the air leak has healed or is better controlled. This condition is temporary and not lifethreatening.
Dr. Stephen Cassivi
Dr. Stephen Cassivi
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Dr. Savas Mavridis
Surgery - Thoracic

In brief: Air under the skin

Air under the skin that is typically leaking from your lungs, but can also come from your esophagus or the trachea (wind pipe), or it could be due to infection.
Either way it can be a serious condition that requires treatment regardless of where the air is originating. You need to see your doctor right away, who will examine you and perform tests to determine the cause and recommend treatment.

In brief: Air under the skin

Air under the skin that is typically leaking from your lungs, but can also come from your esophagus or the trachea (wind pipe), or it could be due to infection.
Either way it can be a serious condition that requires treatment regardless of where the air is originating. You need to see your doctor right away, who will examine you and perform tests to determine the cause and recommend treatment.
Dr. Savas Mavridis
Dr. Savas Mavridis
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