Journal List > J Korean Orthop Assoc > v.48(6) > 1013270

Park, Choi, Kim, Kim, Shon, Cho, Park, Choi, and Eun: Subcutaneous Emphysema of Lower Extremity after Knee Arthroscopy


Subcutaneous emphysema of lower extremity is a rare disease entity. Crepitation and swelling on physical examination and gas on radiographs raise the concern of infection due to the presence of gas gangrene forming organisms. Therefore, delay of diagnosis and appropriate management can be a major predisposing factor for sepsis and further associated high mortality. We experienced a rare case of subcutaneous emphysema of the right lower extremity after knee arthroscopy; life-threatening infection was ruled out by physical examination and laboratory testing. The patient recovered uneventfully with conservative management. Therefore, we report on this case with a review of current literature.

Figures and Tables

Figure 1
Sonograph shows an anechoic lesion (large arrow) with a peripheral echogenic wall on the prepatellar area and two small cysts (small arrows).
Figure 2
There is a relationship between the knee joint and the cyst. Therefore, by injection of saline into the knee joint, the cysts are filled with saline.
Figure 3
Anteroposterior radiographic view of the knee and thigh showing extensive subcutaneous emphysema.
Figure 4
Axial contrast-enhanced computed tomography scan shows a large amount of air within muscle bellies and interfascial planes in thigh and knee. However, there were no fluid collections or abscess pockets.


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