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Localized collection of blood outside the blood vessel is medically coined as hematoma. The blood is usually in liquid form and as it leaks out of the vessel it may be visible as tiny dot or even patch. A hematoma or haematoma is a localized collection of blood outside the blood vessels,[1] usually in liquid form within the tissue.Looks exactly as Wikipedia article line. Although it is a definition and can be directly copied, the second like blood is in liquid form looks too similar.

Localized collection of blood outside the blood vessels is a condition that is called as hematoma. The blood tends to leak out of the blood vessels that are injuredinto the surrounding tissues, leading to the appearance of a tiny dot or maybe a big patch. Hematoma is often the blood that has clotted, and should not be confused with hemorrhage. Hemorrhage means bleeding that is still active.

Different forms of hematoma

There are different forms of hematoma, that are classified according to their site of appearance.

  • Subdural hematoma: The blood collects on the surface of the brainThe collection of blood between the dura mater and the arachnoid mater
  • Epidural hematoma: Hematoma that is formed between the skull and the dura matter of the brain
  • Intracranial hematoma: blood collects within the skull and the outer lining of the brain
  • Subungual hematoma: The localized blood collection occurs under the nail
  • Aural hematoma: The collection of blood under the skin of the ear flap
  • Splenic hematoma: The hematoma that is formed within the spleen
  • Hepatic hematoma: One formed within the liver

Apart from these types, there are several other forms of hematoma which can occur in the forehead, neck, abdomen, anus, and other parts of the body.

Symptoms of hematoma

The characteristic feature of hematoma is completely dependent on the site and the nature of the injury. The patch of blood or the bruise is visible as purple, black or dark blue in color, ranging from the size of a pinpoint dot to several centimeters. The texture of the accumulated blood also changes in the metabolism of the chemicals contained in the blood.

You will also experience pain, swelling and inflammation at the site of occurrence or other parts of the body.

Causesof hematoma

Any type of trauma to the blood vessel can cause hematoma. It can occur under the following circumstances:

  • Trauma or injury to the brain from accident, fall, etc.
  • Bruising of the body part
  • Getting hit against an object
  • Bleeding under the skin
  • Side effect of insulin shots, blood thinners, aspirin, NSAIDs, etc.
  • From a surgery that went wrong
  • People with bleeding disorders, low platelet count, blood cancer, chronic liver disease

When to see a doctor

Minor blood pinches disappear within two-three days. See a doctor if you can estimate that the hematoma is growing in size and is not healing. Otherwise, for trauma and accident cases, emergency care is a must.

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Are there any complications of hematoma?

Since the blood remains collected for an extended time, there could be a chance of bacterial infection.

Diagnosis of hematoma

Your doctor would physically inspect the hematoma and inquire about your recent or past incidence of trauma, injury or accident. You should let your doctor know about a preexisting medical condition and the medicines that you might be taking.

Depending upon the initial examination, your doctor will further suggest tests like:

  • Complete blood count, analysis of coagulation profile, metabolic and chemical panel of your blood
  • X-ray, CT scan, Ultrasound and MRI of that specific portion or part of the body, where the formation of hematoma has taken place

What is the treatment for hematoma?

Hematomas usually disappear within a specific course of time.  Usually doctors advicse you R (rest).I (ice).C (compression).E (elevation) therapy which is nothing but taking compression with ice. Your doctor might also prescribe some pain killers to manage the pain and inflammation.

Other lines of treatments depend on the diagnostic reports and the severity, location and type of the hematoma. For example: Surgical drainage and craniotomy may be performed to remove the blood in case of intracranial hematoma.

Written by: Saptakee sengupta
Date last updated: April 12, 2015

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