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Surgical emphysema over the pelvis: an unusual physical sign found on primary survey
  1. J Lim,
  2. K M Porter
  1. Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Mr K M Porter, University Hospital Birmingham NHS Trust, Selly Oak Hospital, Raddlebarn Road, Birmingham B29 6JD, UK


Open fractures of the pelvis are associated with high energy trauma and present a challenge to successful management and sometimes, early and correct diagnosis. These patients require more aggressive blood resuscitation particularly in the first 24 hours, repeated wound care operations, and often require a diverting colostomy. Usually these pelvic fractures can be distinguished from closed pelvic fractures by an open wound or lacerations of the vagina and rectum. Occasionally, however, the wounds associated with these fractures may remain undetected and the severity of the injury underestimated until complications develop. The authors believe this to be the first report of subcutaneous surgical emphysema associated with an open pelvic fracture.

  • surgical emphysema
  • pelvis

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