Definition

What is an abdominal injury?

An abdominal injury is a trauma to the abdomen. It may be blunt or penetrating and can damage to the abdominal organs. Common signs and symptoms include abdominal pain, tenderness, rigidity, and bruising of the external abdomen.

Abdominal injury presents a risk of severe blood loss and infection. Diagnosis may involve ultrasonography, computed tomography, and peritoneal lavage, and treatment may involve surgery. Injury to the lower chest may cause splenic or liver rupture.

How common is an abdominal injury?      

Most deaths causing by abdominal trauma are preventable; an abdominal injury is one of the most common causes of preventable, trauma-related deaths. However, it can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Symptoms

What are the symptoms of abdominal injury?

It is possible that sign and symptoms are not detected in the early days. In some cases, after several days the initial pain is found. People have an injury in motor vehicle collisions may present with a “seat belt sign,” bruising on the abdomen along the site of the lap portion of the safety belt, and this sign is related to a high rate of injury to the abdominal organs.

Early signs of abdominal trauma include nausea, vomiting, blood in the urine, and fever. The trauma may appear with abdominal pain, tenderness, enlarged abdominal, or hardness in the abdominal, or bowel sounds may be absent.

Injuries related to intra-abdominal injury comprise of rib fractures, vertebral fractures, pelvic fractures, and injuries to the abdominal wall.

When should I see my doctor?

Early diagnosis and treatment can stop this condition from worsening and prevent another medical emergency, so talk to your doctor as soon as possible to prevent this serious condition.

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consulting with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.

Causes

What causes abdominal injury?

Motor vehicle collisions are considered as a common cause of blunt abdominal trauma. Seat belts decrease the risk of injuries such as head injury and chest injury but present a threat to such abdominal organs as the pancreas and the intestines, which may be displaced or compressed against the spinal column.

Playing sports and running are also common causes of abdominal injuries in children. Sports injuries can also affect abdominal organs such as the spleen and kidneys. An abdominal injury may result from child abuse and is the second leading cause of child abuse-related death, after traumatic brain injury.

Gunshot wounds, which are higher energy than stab wounds, are usually more damaging than the latter. Gunshot wounds that penetrate the peritoneum result in significant damage to major intra-abdominal structures in some 90% of cases.

Risk factors

What increases my risk for abdominal injury?

Suspect abdominal injury if you experience:

  • Blunt trauma: High speed, lack of safety devices (seatbelts, airbags)
  • Penetrating: Weapon, gun velocity, bullet type

Diagnosis & Treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

 

How is abdominal injury diagnosed?

Diagnostic techniques including CT scanning, ultrasound, and X-ray are used.

Ultrasound can figure out any fluid in the abdominal cavity formed from the injury.

X-ray can help detect the path of the penetration and locate any foreign matter left in the wound.

CT scanning can give a more precise diagnosis for any tissue damage or growth in the abdominal that can cause pain to the patient. However, CT scan is not recommended for pregnant women or children.

Diagnostic laparoscopy or exploratory laparotomy may also be performed if other diagnostic methods do not yield conclusive results.

How is abdominal injury treated?

Initial treatment is stabilizing the patient from the shock of the injury to ensure adequate airway, breathing, stop the bleeding if any and improve circulation to the injured site. The doctor might also use this opportunity identifying other injuries.

Surgery may be needed to treat injured organs. Surgical exploration is necessary for people with penetrating injuries and signs of peritonitis or shock.

Laparotomy is often performed in blunt abdominal trauma, and is urgently recommended if an abdominal injury causes a large, potentially deadly bleed. The primary goal is to stop any sources of bleeding before moving onto any definitive find and repair any injuries that are found. Based on the injuries, a patient may or may not need intensive care.

Lifestyle changes & Home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage abdominal injury?

Reducing the risk of abdominal injury is highly recommended.

  • Do not drink too much when driving
  • Should limit your speed
  • Children should be accompanied by their parents

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: April 16, 2017 | Last Modified: April 16, 2017

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