Cervicofacial emphysema after dental treatment with emphasis on the anatomy of the cervical fascia

Bilecenoglu B., Onul M., Altay O. T., Yakul B. U.

Journal of Craniofacial Surgery, vol.23, no.6, 2012 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 23 Issue: 6
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Doi Number: 10.1097/scs.0b013e31825aef02
  • Journal Name: Journal of Craniofacial Surgery
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Keywords: Cervical fascia, Cervicofacial emphysema, Potential spaces of the neck
  • Istanbul Medipol University Affiliated: Yes


Fascial organization of the neck is quite complex and highly variable between individuals. Fascial layers separate very important structures in the neck, and by this way, they build anatomical walls against spread of infections, although this alignment could lead to spread of infection very easily throughout connected fascial spaces. We tried to discuss the possible anatomical pathways resulting in cervicofacial emphysema with a case. The development of cervicofacial emphysema after dental treatment is a well-known complication especially when using high-speed turbines. A 39-year-old female patient is referred to our private dental clinic with complaints of swelling on her right supraclavicular region with edema of right orbita with absence of pain. In our case, emphysema reaches to supraclavicular region using retropharyngeal space and prevertebral fascia. This case illustrates anatomically how air or other materials, including pathogens or infections, could pass easily from oral cavity into thorax or even abdomen using facial planes. © Copyright 2012 by Mutaz B. Habal, MD.