Delayed Orbital Emphysema Mimicking Orbital Cellulitis: An Uncommon Complication of Dental Surgery

Middle East Afr J Ophthalmol. 2019 Sep 30;26(3):175-177. doi: 10.4103/meajo.MEAJO_241_18. eCollection 2019 Jul-Sep.


A 79-year-old man presented to the ophthalmology clinic with acute-onset left orbital and periorbital swelling, 6 days following surgery to revise a zygomatic implant to anchor his dentures. On evaluation, there was left eye proptosis with ipsilateral facial crepitus. Emphysema was confirmed on computed tomography. With visual function and motility remaining intact, he was observed without intervention. Within 2 weeks, his evaluation returned to baseline. Periorbital emphysema is a rare complication of dental procedures. Awareness of this potential complication enables timely diagnosis and avoidance of unnecessary therapy.

Keywords: Complications; dental procedure; orbital emphysema.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Dental Implants / adverse effects*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Emphysema / diagnostic imaging*
  • Emphysema / etiology
  • Exophthalmos
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Orbital Cellulitis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Orbital Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Orbital Diseases / etiology
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Zygoma / surgery


  • Dental Implants