Cervicofacial emphysema secondary to facebow injury: A case report

Marco Cicciù, Giovanni Battista Grossi, Mario Beretta, Davide Farronato, Concetta Scalfaro, Carlo Maiorana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: To report the clinical case of a child with facial and periorbital emphysema caused by an orthodontic device. Case report: An 11-year-old child presented to our clinic showing moderate swelling of the left facial area. Based on his dental history, physical findings, and instrument examinations, the diagnosis of cervicofacial emphysema was established, caused by disengagement of the facebow. One week later, all swelling and crepitus had disappeared without complications. Most patients who develop subcutaneous emphysema after a dental procedure have only moderate local swelling, which normally resolves spontaneously and without complications within a week. However, the spread of large amounts of air into the deeper spaces may cause life-threatening sequelae. Conclusions: Orthodontists should be aware that the use of extraoral traction applied via a facebow can cause soft tissue injures and emphysema of the cervicofacial region. It is important to avoid misdiagnosis and to appropriately inform patient and parents about this condition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-336
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Clinical Pediatric Dentistry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2009


  • Cervicofacial emphysema
  • Extraoral traction
  • Facebow injuries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Dentistry(all)


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