Facial swelling for the emergency radiologist—typical and atypical causes


There are a wide variety of inflammatory, infectious, and cystic lesions which may lead patients to seek acute care for facial swelling. Computed tomography (CT) has become the mainstay for imaging in the urgent/emergent setting. However, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can also serve as a powerful problem solving tool in the modern era. As volume continues to increase, a wide variety of facial pathology will be encountered by the emergency radiologist. Recognition of both common and uncommon pathology will assist in diagnosis and value-based care. This article serves as an image-rich review of the many causes of facial swelling with an emphasis on key imaging findings and possible complications.

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All authors made substantial contributions to the design of the work; drafted the work or revised it critically for important intellectual content; approved the version to be published; and agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

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Correspondence to Alexander T. Kessler.

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The original version of this article was revised: The above article was published online with inverted figures legends for Fig. 1-6.

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Smith, S.M., Thelen, J.C., Bhatt, A.A. et al. Facial swelling for the emergency radiologist—typical and atypical causes. Emerg Radiol (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10140-020-01809-x

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  • Odontogenic infection
  • Sialadenitis
  • Orbital cellulitis
  • Myositis
  • Cavernous sinus thrombosis
  • Rhabdomyolysis
  • Ranula