SAEM Clinical Images Series: Facial Swelling

Dec 19, 22
SAEM Clinical Images Series: Facial Swelling

facial swelling

A 5-year-old male with a history of recent frontal sinusitis associated with preseptal cellulitis requiring surgery presented with facial swelling. Swelling developed in the 24 hours prior to presentation without facial pain, nausea, or emesis. Denied facial trauma as well as any neurologic deficits, loss of consciousness, headaches, or fever/chills. At the time of his prior surgery, he presented with swelling localized to the left eye along with worsening pain, nausea, and emesis. After surgery, he was discharged in stable condition on antibiotics for 10 days. He has been in his usual state of health since that time.

Vitals: BP 93/59 (Sitting); HR 84; Temp 37.3 °C (99.1 °F) (Oral); Resp 12; Wt 20.6 kg (45 lb 6.6 oz)

General: Active, alert, normal development, and in no acute distress

HEENT: Swelling over the forehead and nasal bridge. Tenderness to palpation over the forehead. No erythema or overlying skin changes.

Nose: Normal appearance. No congestion or rhinorrhea.

Mouth/Throat: Mucous membranes are moist. Oropharynx is clear.

White blood cell (WBC) count: 8.9 x 10^3/uL

Hemoglobin: 11.5 g/dL

Platelets: 365 x 10^3/uL

ANC: 4.490 x 10^3/uL

ESR: 15 mm

CRP: <0.5 mg

In the initial management of this patient, CT imaging of the head with contrast should be used to characterize the lesion and evaluate for intracranial involvement. In our patient, the CT scan showed frontal bone osteomyelitis with possible extension into the subdural space. He was admitted on broad-spectrum antibiotics and surgical washout was performed the following day.

Pott’s Puffy Tumor is a rare but serious complication of sinusitis with potential intracranial involvement. Complications include orbital cellulitis, intracranial abscess, meningitis, and cavernous sinus thrombosis.

Take-Home Points

  • Pott’s Puffy Tumor is a rare potential complication of sinusitis. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential to reduce morbidity.
  • CT of the head with contrast is the initial imaging that should be obtained in the emergency department.

  • Blumfield E1, Misra M. Pott’s puffy tumor, intracranial, and orbital complications as the initial presentation of sinusitis in healthy adolescents, a case series. Emerg Radiol. 2011 Jun;18(3):203-10. PMID: 21380513.
  • Palabiyik FB1, Yazici Z, Cetin B, Celebi S, Hacimustafaoglu M. Pott Puffy Tumor in Children: A Rare Emergency Clinical Entity. J Craniofac Surg. 2016 May;27(3):e313-6. PMID: 27100642.

Author information

Austin Cummings

Austin Cummings

Medical Student
Medical College of Wisconsin

The post SAEM Clinical Images Series: Facial Swelling appeared first on ALiEM.

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