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Late Onset of Subcutaneous Emphysema and Hypercarbia Following Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy*

Aurora Santana, MD; Robert S. Crausman, MD, FCCP; Howard G. Dubin, MD, FCCP
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*From Brown University School of Medicine, Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island, Pawtucket, RI.

Correspondence to: Aurora Santana, MD, Internal Medicine Residency Program, Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island, 111 Brewster St, Pawtucket, RI 02861



Chest. 1999;115(5):1468-1471. doi:10.1378/chest.115.5.1468
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Laparoscopic surgical techniques are increasingly being applied to treat intraperitoneal abnormalities. These minimally invasive techniques potentially offer decreased operation time, decreased morbidity, and decreased length of hospitalization stays. These procedures, however are not without potential morbidity. Herein we describe two patients treated with laparoscopic cholecystectomy whose cases were complicated with subcutaneous emphysema and hypercarbia without pneumothorax. In each of these cases, carbon dioxide gas was used to induce pneumoperitoneum. In one of the cases, the hypercarbia was a late event occurring during the surgery, and in the second case, the first such description in the literature (to our knowledge), hypercarbia developed after termination of the induced pneumoperitoneum.

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