Hematoma Symptoms and Causes Comprehensive Information

Everything You Need To Know About Hematoma

Overview of Hematoma

A hematoma is a medical term describing a localized blood collection outside of blood vessels. It occurs when there is damage to a blood vessel, leading to bleeding into the surrounding tissues or spaces. Hematomas can occur anywhere in the body, both internally and externally, similar to a bruise. Hematomas are relatively harmless, but some may indicate a more serious issue. An individual who has sustained an injury in an accident or a blow to the head should meet a doctor and discuss the signs of an internal hematoma.

Types of Hematoma

Several types of hematomas are categorized based on their location within the body. Here are some common types:

  • Subcutaneous Hematoma: This type of hematoma occurs beneath the skin, usually due to direct trauma or injury. It can lead to visible swelling, bruising, and pain.
  • Intracranial Hematoma: Intracranial hematomas occur within the skull and involve bleeding in the brain tissue or the surrounding spaces. They can be potentially serious and may result from head injuries or underlying medical conditions. Examples of intracranial hematomas include subdural hematoma (between the brain and the dura mater), epidural hematoma (between the skull and the dura mater), and intraparenchymal hematoma (within the brain tissue).
  • Subdural Hematoma: A subdural hematoma is a type of intracranial hematoma that occurs when blood collects between the brain and the dura mater (a protective membrane covering the brain). It is often caused by head trauma and can exert pressure on the brain.
  • Epidural Hematoma: An epidural hematoma is another intracranial hematoma between the skull and the dura mater. It typically results from a head injury that causes bleeding from an artery, leading to the accumulation of blood and potential compression of the brain.
  • Retroperitoneal Hematoma: Retroperitoneal hematomas occur in the retroperitoneal space, which is located behind the abdominal cavity. They can be caused by trauma, surgery, or conditions affecting blood vessels in the area. Symptoms may include abdominal pain, flank pain, and signs of internal bleeding.
  • Intramuscular Hematoma: This type of hematoma develops within the muscle tissue, often due to trauma or vigorous physical activity. It can cause pain, swelling, and limited range of motion.
  • Subungual Hematoma: Subungual hematomas occur beneath the fingernail or toenail and are usually a result of direct trauma or injury to the digits. They can cause intense pain, discoloration, and pressure under the nail.

These are just a few examples of hematoma types, but there can be other variations depending on the specific location or underlying cause. Medical evaluation and diagnosis are important to determine a hematoma's type and appropriate management.

Symptoms of Hematoma

The symptoms of a hematoma can vary depending on its location, size, and underlying cause. Here are some common symptoms associated with different types of hematomas:

Subcutaneous Hematoma

  • Swelling and lump formation in the affected area.
  • Discoloration or bruising of the skin.
  • Pain or tenderness at the site of the hematoma.

Intracranial Hematoma (Subdural, Epidural, Intraparenchymal)

  • Headache, which can be severe.
  • Confusion or changes in mental status.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Dizziness or loss of balance.
  • Seizures.
  • Weakness or numbness in the limbs.
  • Changes in vision or speech.
  • Loss of consciousness in severe cases.

Retroperitoneal Hematoma

  • Abdominal or flank pain.
  • Swelling or tenderness in the lower back or abdomen.
  • Blood in the urine (hematuria).
  • Low blood pressure.
  • Signs of internal bleeding include lightheadedness, rapid heart rate, or pale skin.

Intramuscular Hematoma

  • Pain, tenderness, or throbbing sensation in the affected muscle.
  • Swelling and visible bruising.
  • Limited range of motion or stiffness.
  • Muscle weakness or difficulty using the muscle.

Subungual Hematoma

  • Intense pain under the fingernail or toenail.
  • Discoloration of the nail, appearing dark or black.
  • Swelling and pressure sensation.
  • Sensitivity or tenderness when pressure is applied to the nail.

It is important to note that these symptoms are general and may vary depending on the individual and the specific circumstances. If you suspect you have a hematoma or experience concerning symptoms, it is advisable to seek medical attention for proper evaluation and treatment.

Causes and Risk Factors of Hematoma

Various factors and underlying conditions can cause hematomas. Here are some common causes of hematomas:

  • Trauma or Injury: Hematomas often occur due to direct trauma or injury to a specific body area. This can include falls, motor vehicle accidents, sports injuries, or any event that causes damage to blood vessels.
  • Surgery: Surgical procedures can sometimes lead to the formation of hematomas. During surgery, blood vessels may be damaged, resulting in bleeding and subsequent hematoma formation in the surgical site or surrounding tissues.
  • Blood Clotting Disorders: Conditions that affect blood clotting can increase the risk of hematomas. Disorders such as hemophilia, von Willebrand disease, or thrombocytopenia (low platelet count) can impair the blood's ability to clot properly, making individuals more susceptible to hematomas.
  • Anticoagulant Medications: Certain medications thin the blood or inhibit clotting, such as anticoagulants (e.g., warfarin, heparin) or antiplatelet drugs (e.g., aspirin, clopidogrel), can increase the risk of hematomas. These medications are commonly prescribed to prevent blood clots but can make bleeding more likely.
  • Elderly or Fragile Skin: As people age, their skin becomes thinner and more damage-resistant. This can make older adults more prone to developing hematomas, even with minor trauma or injury.
  • Vascular Malformations: Abnormalities or weaknesses in blood vessels can contribute to the formation of hematomas. Conditions such as arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) or aneurysms can lead to vessel rupture and subsequent hematoma formation.
  • Specific Medical Procedures: Invasive medical procedures, such as biopsies or vascular catheterizations, can occasionally result in hematomas due to inadvertent damage to blood vessels.
  • Underlying Medical Conditions: Some medical conditions, such as liver disease, leukemia, or certain types of cancer, can affect the normal functioning of blood vessels or blood clotting, increasing the risk of hematomas.

It's important to note that the causes of hematomas can be multifactorial, and sometimes multiple factors may contribute to their development. The severity and likelihood of hematomas can vary depending on the specific circumstances and individual health factors.

Complications Associated with Hematomas

Hematomas, especially when left untreated or improperly managed, can potentially lead to complications and pose associated risks. These complications can vary depending on the location and size of the hematoma.

Potential complications and associated risks associated with hematomas

  • Infection: Hematomas create a space filled with blood, which can serve as a breeding ground for bacteria. If bacteria enter the hematoma site, it can result in an infection. Signs of infection may include increased pain, redness, warmth, swelling, or the presence of pus. Prompt medical attention is necessary to diagnose and treat infections associated with hematomas.
  • Increased Pressure: As a hematoma expands, it can exert pressure on surrounding tissues, organs, or structures. This can lead to compression or displacement of nearby structures, potentially causing pain, functional impairments, or complications specific to the affected area. For example, increased pressure within the skull can lead to neurological symptoms and potentially life-threatening complications in intracranial hematomas.
  • Nerve or Tissue Damage: Hematomas near nerves, blood vessels, or vital organs can cause compression or damage to these structures. This can result in nerve dysfunction, impaired blood flow, or organ dysfunction. The damage's extent and severity depend on the hematoma's location and size.
  • Restricted Movement or Function: Large or deep hematomas can restrict the movement or function of muscles, joints, or other affected areas. This can lead to limitations in mobility, impaired range of motion, muscle weakness, and difficulty performing daily activities. Rehabilitation and physical therapy may be necessary to regain function and mobility.
  • Recurrence or Chronic Hematoma: A hematoma may sometimes recur or become chronic. This can occur if the underlying cause, such as ongoing trauma, bleeding disorders, or insufficient treatment, is not addressed. Chronic hematomas may require additional interventions or specialized management approaches.
  • Scar Formation or Fibrosis: During the healing process, the body may form scar tissue or fibrotic tissue as the hematoma resolves. This scar tissue may sometimes cause cosmetic concerns and functional impairments or contribute to chronic pain or stiffness in the affected area.

It is important to note that while complications and associated risks are possible, not all hematomas will lead to these outcomes. Prompt medical evaluation and appropriate treatment can help minimize the likelihood of complications and ensure optimal recovery.

Frequently Asked Questions

Hematoma is a common condition under the skin or nails. It can be seen as purple bruises of varied sizes. The condition can also occur deep inside the body as invisible bruises.

A subdural hematoma resulting from a severe head injury is known to be the deadliest of all head injuries. This kind of bleeding tends to fill the brain area fast while compressing brain tissue leading to brain injury and sometimes death.

Severe symptoms of hematoma are a cause for worry. Additionally, if these symptoms continue to expand, it is suggested to speak to a doctor immediately.

Hematoma spreads in free space and presses on nearby organs. The spreading of hematomas depends on the body part affected. For instance, if bleeding occurs within the abdominal cavity, it can expand prior to causing symptoms.

Hematomas are mainly caused due to traumas such as falls, car accidents, bone fractures, head injuries, and aneurysms. Some medical conditions, such as liver-related illnesses, hemophilia, and blood cancers, can make one more vulnerable to developing hematomas.

The primary cause of hematoma is trauma due to broken bones, a car accident, head injury, fall, or gunshot wound.

Hematoma poses a low to medium-low to medium risk to the pregnancy. Surgical treatment is not recommended for hematomas during pregnancy. A doctor may prescribe blood thinners. Sometimes, the doctor prefers the "wait and see." No treatment or medications are prescribed until absolutely necessary.

Presently, no link has been proven between hematoma and first-trimester miscarriages. However, some patients with subchorionic hematoma may experience bleeding and cramping with an increased probability of miscarriage. Hence, speaking to a doctor about the symptoms and getting checked to avoid complications is crucial.

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