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What is hematoma?

Hematoma is generally defined as a collection of blood outside of blood vessels. Most commonly, hematomas are caused by an injury to the wall of a blood vessel, prompting blood to seep out of the blood vessel into the surrounding tissues. A hematoma can result from an injury to any type of blood vessel (artery, vein, or small capillary). A hematoma usually describes bleeding which has more or less clotted, whereas a hemorrhage signifies active, ongoing bleeding.

How common is hematoma?

Hematoma is extremely common. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.


What are the symptoms of hematoma?

Hematomas cause irritation and inflammation. Symptoms depend upon their location and whether the size of the hematoma or the associated swelling and inflammation cause nearby structures to be affected.

The common symptoms of inflammation from hematoma include:

  • Redness
  • Tenderness
  • Warmth
  • Pain
  • Swelling

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

Medical attention may be sought for a hematoma if its symptoms are severe or its size continues to expand. For example, hematoma in the brain (subdural) or epidural hematoma generally require prompt medical and surgical attention, especially if they are associated with neurologic problems.

Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.


What causes hematoma?

Hematomas are usually caused by trauma, whether it is the result of a car accident, a minor bump, a cough, or an unknown event. The blood within blood vessels is continually flowing and therefore does not clot or coagulate. When blood leaves the circulatory system and becomes stagnant, there is almost immediate clotting. The greater the amount of bleeding that occurs, the larger the hematoma.

Anticoagulant medications, including aspirin, warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix) and dipyridamole (Persantine) may be associated with blood clots. Diseases or infections may occur that decrease the number of platelets in the bloodstream or their ability to function. The platelets are the cells that help initiate blood clotting. If platelets are inhibited, bleeding can continue and hematomas can develop and expand. Examples of bacterial infections, autoimmune diseases, and other situations that may lead to hematomas include:

  • Finger infections
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Onychomycosis
  • Hematomas of the ear may occur if an injury causes bleeding to the cartilage structure of the ear.
  • Septal hematoma may occur due to nose injuries.
  • Internal bleeding into the abdomen may be life threatening depending upon the cause and the situation and lead to irritation of the lining of the abdomen.
  • Hematomas may occur in solid organs like the liver, spleen, and kidney or they may occur within the walls of the small intestine or colon.
  • Orthopedic injuries or broken bones may cause hematomas.
  • Compartment syndrome is an uncommon complication of bleeding and hematoma due to injury.

Pregnancy is associated with subchorionic hemorrhage about 25% of the time. It is the most common abnormality seen by sonographic analysis in pregnant women. Most small to moderate hematomas regress and do not worsen the patient’s prognosis. Blood clots and/or bleeding in the third trimester may be a sign of problems such as placenta previa or placental abruption and is considered a medical emergency.

Risk factors

What increases my risk for hematoma?

There is no information available. Please consult with your doctor for medical advice.

Diagnosis & treatment

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

How is hematoma diagnosed?

Examination of a hematoma includes physical inspection along with a comprehensive medical history. In general, there are no special blood tests for the evaluation of a hematoma. However, depending on the situation, tests including complete blood count (CBC), coagulation panel, chemistry and metabolic panel, and liver tests may be useful in evaluating a person with a hematoma and to assess any underlying conditions and evaluate whether these are responsible for the hematoma formation.

  • Imaging studies are often needed to diagnose hematomas inside the body.
  • Computerized tomography (CT) of the head can reliably diagnose subdural hematoma.CT of the abdomen is a good test if a hematoma in the abdominal cavity (intra-abdominal, hepatic, splenic, retroperitoneal, peritoneal) is suspected.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is more reliable in detecting epidural hematomas than a CT scan.

How is hematoma treated?

Medical care and definitive treatment of a hematoma depends upon its location, what body parts are affected, and what symptoms are present. For example, a small hematoma of the brain may be observed if the patient is fully awake, while another patient with a head injury may require an operation to save brain tissue. The same may be true with a patient with an intra-abdominal hematoma. If the patient is stable, observation may be appropriate, but if shock develops, some surgical intervention may be required.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

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

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with hematoma:

  • Rest
  • Ice (Apply the ice or cold pack for 20 minutes at a time, 4 to 8 times a day.)
  • Compress (Compression can be achieved by using elastic bandages.)
  • Elevate (Elevation of the injured area above the level of the heart is recommended.)

When using ice packs, apply the ice or cold pack for 20 minutes at a time, 4 to 8 times a day. Compression can be achieved by using elastic bandages, and elevation of the injured area above the level of the heart is recommended.

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: June 28, 2017 | Last Modified: June 28, 2017

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