Subcutaneous emphysema refers to swelling caused by the presence of air or gas in the interstices of loose connective tissue. In the head and neck area, it may follow the fascial planes and is characterized by sudden swelling, crepitus on palpation, infrequent pain, and air emboli on radiography. It usually occurs as a complication in dental treatment. Some reports have described subcutaneous emphysema caused by dental procedures; however, severe emphysema related to peri-implantitis after treatment has not been documented. Accordingly, the current report describes a rare case of subcutaneous cervical emphysema resulting from the use of an air-powder abrasive device to treat peri-implantitis.
Based on a review of the existing literature and the present case, nine cases of subcutaneous emphysema due to air-powder abrasive device have been reported. In most cases, the emphysema resolved over time after treatment with prophylactic antibiotics; among these, two were related to peri-implantitis management.
Considering the frequent use of air-powder abrasive devices to treat peri-implantitis, the potential risk of iatrogenic emphysema related to this procedure needs to be addressed more extensively.