Since 1997
Subcutaneous Emphysema
by DAN Medical Team on March 1st, 2016

​I was diving over the weekend, doing three dives each day, finishing about noon on Sunday. I had some trouble clearing on both days, and on the last dive I had a reverse squeeze. I can hear just fine and I don't have any pain, but on the side of my neck I have several little bubbles that I can press on but which are not painful. Have you ever heard of this? 
​Air bubbles don't normally exist under the skin in the neck, or anywhere else in the body. Although it may seem as though this trapped air must have come from the middle ear, this would be a bit unusual, since you have no ear pain or other symptoms, such as a ringing or roaring sound, or even loss of hearing. Middle ear barotrauma can easily damage the tympanic membrane or one of the more delicate internal membranes associated with sound transmission inside of the ear.

Although no one can say for sure, it is more likely that this trapped air - or subcutaneous emphysema - originated from pulmonary barotrauma. Sometimes the lungs are over-pressurized, for instance, when we have difficulty clearing. This can happen when we attempt to put air into the sinuses and middle ear with more force than is necessary. This can actually increase the amount of pressure in the air spaces of the lung, which then allows air to escape through lung tissue, where it can travel up to the shoulder, neck or even the face.

Subcutaneous emphysema does not require recompression treatment. However, it is a good idea to be evaluated by your physician to determine the underlying cause of the air bubbles.

Posted in Dive Safety FAQ    Tagged with no tags


Beverly Donias - January 30th, 2018 at 2:19 PM
In November, 2016 I started on COPD/Emphysema Herbal formula from NewLife Herbal Clinic, the treatment worked incredibly for my COPD lungs condition. I used the NewLife COPD Herbal formula for a total time period of 4 months, it totally reversed my COPD. I had a total decline of symptoms including difficulty breathing, dry cough, low energy, fatigue and others.

Visit NewLife Clinic web-site ww w. newlifeherbalclinic. com. I am very pleased with this treatment. I breath very well now and exercise regularly, sometimes i totally forget i ever had COPD, I am thankful to nature, the medics failed. Share with friends!!
DAN Team - January 31st, 2018 at 8:22 AM
We are pleased that you took the time to comment on the blog post. Great feedback! If you need any additional advice you are welcome to contact the DAN hotline. You can contact the DAN hotline toll-free in South Africa on 0800 020 111 or internationally on 27 828 10 60. Alternatively you can email your contact phone number to the DAN medic on call to
Leave a Comment