Pneumomediastinum (PM) secondary to an isolated orbital blow-out fracture is a rare but potentially severe and life-threatening complication. Fortunately, airway obstruction, pneumothorax, pneumopericardium, and mediastinitis are rare complications of PM. Blowing the nose after a maxillofacial trauma increases pressure in the paranasal sinuses, which may lead to emphysema through a breach of the lining mucosa to the surrounding soft tissues in the head, neck, and, on occasions, to the mediastinum. We report here the rare case of a patient with PM after isolated orbital fracture. Only 3 similar cases have been previously reported in the literature.
From the Service of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Department of Surgery, Hôpitaux Universitaire de Genève, Faculty of Medicine, Geneva, Switzerland.
Received July 1, 2010.
Accepted for publication August 1, 2010.
Address correspondence and reprint requests to Stefan Loretan, MD, DMD, Service of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Department of Surgery, Hôpitaux Universitaire de Genève, Faculty of Medicine, Rue Gabrielle-Perret-Gentil 4, 1211 Genève 14, Switzerland; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The authors report no conflicts of interest.