Endoscopy 1984; 16(4): 160-161
DOI: 10.1055/s-2007-1018566
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Massive Subcutaneous Emphysema following Colonoscopy

F. Humphreys, K.A. Hewetson, A.W. Dellipiani
  • Gastrointestinal Unit, North Tees General Hospital, Stockton, U.K.
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
17 March 2008 (online)


A case of massive subcutaneous emphysema following colonoscopic polypectomy is reported. The incidence of colonic perforation following colonoscopy is 0.1 % and may be intraperitoneal or retroperitoneal. Intraperitoneal perforation is usually immediately apparent and likely to require urgent surgical exploration. The development of subcutaneous emphysema or a pneumoscrotum suggests a retroperitoneal perforation and in the majority of cases management is conservative. Contrast studies are often unhelpful but plain x-rays may help to distinguish between intraperitoneal and retroperitoneal perforations.