Paper| Volume 26, ISSUE 3, P151-153, April 1995

Download started.


Sucking wounds of the limbs

  • J. Stevenson
    Requests for reprints should be addressed to: Mr J. Stevenson frcs, Consultant in Accident and Emergency Medicine. Accident and Emergency Department, Crosshouse Hospital, Kilmarnock, Ayrshire KA2 0BE, Scotland, UK.
    Accident and Emergency Department, Newcastle General Hospital, Newcastle, UK
    Search for articles by this author
      This paper is only available as a PDF. To read, Please Download here.


      Subcutaneous emphysema affecting a limb in isolation is rare. Three cases of subcutaneous emphysema caused by a sucking wound of the limb are presented. Differentiation from infection with a gas-forming organism is imperative. This distinction can be made if a number of factors are taken into consideration. These include, concise knowledge of the history and mechanism of injury, and in particular, full appreciation of the amount of energy transfer causing the wound, the macroscopic appearance of the wound, the presence or absence of systemic symptoms, the time from injury to the development of subcutaneous emphysema, and the radiographic appearance of the soft tissues.
      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Injury
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Robbins PL
        • Sutherland DE
        • Ngjarian JS
        • et al.
        Emphysema of the leg as a sign of large intestinal perforation: report of two cases.
        Dis Colon Rectum. 1977; 20: 144
        • Knight RK
        Subcutaneous emphysema of the leg.
        Br J Clin Pract. 1983; 37: 192
        • Thompson SA
        • Harper JS
        • Millican P
        An unusual case of subcutaneous emphysema.
        Br J Radiol. 1981; 54: 682
        • Sleigh JW
        • Linter SPK
        Hazards of hydrogen peroxide.
        Br Med J. 1985; 291: 1706
        • Filler RM
        • Griscom NT
        • Pappas A
        Post-traumatic crepitation falsely suggesting gas gangrene.
        New Engl J Med. 1968; 278: 758
        • Craig RP
        • Boffard KD
        Factitious subcutaneous emphysema.
        Injury. 1977; 8: 307
        • Power RA
        • Sturge C
        Unrecognized self-injury in a child presenting as surgical emphysema of the forearm.
        Br J Hosp Med. 1990; 44: 417
        • Butt M
        • Hird GF
        Surgical emphysema of the dorsum of the hand.
        J Hand Surg. 1990; 15B: 379
        • Driscoll P
        • Gunn RS
        • Douglas DL
        Subcutaneous emphysema of the elbow.
        Injury. 1984; 16: 134
        • Hamilton S
        • Towers MJ
        • Pegum JM
        Pneumomediastinum due to a sucking wound of the knee.
        Am J Roentgenol. 1989; 152: 1131
        • Udell JL
        • Julsrud ME
        Subcutaneous emphysema of the lower extremity.
        J Am Podiatric Soc. 1990; 80: 446
        • Wallace MF
        • Mackie I
        • Dickinson IC
        A non-bacterial cause of post-traumatic soft tissue gas.
        J Trauma. 1988; 28: 254