Article: Volume 44 Number 7 Page 669 - July/August 2017

  Dent Update 2017; 44: 669-671  Read article

Oral surgery:  Surgical Emphysema Following Third Molar Extraction in a Patient with Gilles de la Tourette’s Syndrome

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Abstract: Surgical emphysema is a rare complication of dental surgery, usually associated with the inappropriate use of an air turbine drill. We present a case of extensive subcutaneous emphysema, pneumomediastinum and bilateral pneumothorax following surgical removal of a lower third molar tooth. This appears to have arisen due to motor tics associated with Gilles de la Tourette’s syndrome. The clinical features and management are outlined and the current literature pertaining to surgical emphysema related to oral surgery is reviewed.

Clinical relevance: It is important that clinicians are made aware of the potential complications that can occur following surgical removal of teeth and the appropriate management should they arise.

Author notes: Jennifer Fuller, BDS(Hons), BSc(Hons), MJDF RCS Eng, SHO in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Bristol Royal Infirmary, Nirmal Patel, BDS(Bris), MFDS RCS (Edin), DipConSed (Card), Specialty Dentist in Oral Surgery and John Collin, BSc(Hons), MBChB, MRCS BDS(Hons), Specialist Trainee in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Bristol Royal Infirmary, Marlborough Street, Bristol BS1 3NU, UK.

Objective: To understand the risk factors, symptoms, signs and management of surgical emphysema related to oral surgery.

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