Development of subcutaneous emphysema after gastrointestinal endoscopy with general anesthesia presents a diagnostic conundrum. We discuss the management of a patient who experienced significant vomiting followed by neck and facial swelling with crepitus and shortness of breath after the endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography. The presence of respiratory distress usually suggests that head and neck subcutaneous emphysema is most likely associated with pneumothorax and/or pneumomediastinum. We discuss the prevention, differential diagnosis, and current management of tracheal tears including subcutaneous emphysema.
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