In our body, blood stays in the blood vessels and it does not move outside. However, when there is an injury to the artery or vein or the blood vessel wall, blood can leak outside and form small clots. It can be small or large depending on the extent of the damage. This causes various damages to the body and usually results in inflammation and pain along with swelling of the affected region. The unique aspect of Hematoma is that they can occur anywhere in the body.

Types of Hematoma

-  Epidural hematoma : When the temple region is injured, blood gets accumulated in the epidural region outside the lining of the brain leading to this condition. It can be very painful and also cause brain injury in the long run.

-  Subdural hematoma : When the veins of the brain are damaged, it leaks blood slowly into the subdural space. In normal cases, this progresses very slowly and usually symptoms appear in old age. However, when the size of the hematoma is very large, it can be fatal.

-  Intracerebral hematoma : When the brain tissues are damaged, it leads to this condition. It usually happens due to a major trauma or stroke.

-  Scalp hematoma : This is found on the outer layer of the skull and you can even feel it like a bump on the scalp. It does not pose too much threat as the injury is outside the region of the brain.

-  Ear hematoma : When damage is done to the ear, blood can flow to the cartilage region and get trapped leading to this condition. It decreases blood supply to the cartilage region and causes what is known as cauliflower ear.

-  Septal hematoma : This happens in the nasal region and it is usually caused due to the injured nose.

-  Intramuscular hematoma : When an injury to the muscles leads to swelling and inflammation, this condition is observed and it can be very painful. In extreme cases, it can drastically reduce blood supply to the muscles and surgery is needed to reduce the damage to the muscles and nerves in the affected area.

-  Subungual hematoma : when the injury is done to fingers or toes, blood can get trapped under the nails leading to this condition.

-  Subcutaneous hematoma : When the injury is noticed in the skin region, the blood vessels can get damaged and lead to this condition.

-  Intra-abdominal hematoma : This can cause a lot of complications as blood leaking to the abdomen will lead to other illness.

Symptoms of Hematoma

Depending on the region where hematoma is developed, the symptoms vary a lot and you can generally notice them yourself without any medical examination. However, some internal bleeding needs other methods of diagnosis as they do not display obvious symptoms of hematoma.

- The general symptoms include redness in the affected region along with severe pain.

- You can even notice bruises that do not heal naturally in the affected area.

- If the damage is done in the brain region, there may be headaches and other neurological problems like lack of balance and seizures.

- When hematoma is detected in the abdominal region, it can lead to pain and changes in bowel movement.

- You can also notice pain in the nails and it gets disfigured when there is an injury in that region.

- While the external injuries are easy to detect as you can notice the symptoms in the same place, it becomes difficult to identify the symptoms for internal injuries as they may take a long time to show up.

- In this situation, it can grow to a large size inside the body and create complications.

Causes of Hematoma

- Hematoma is the result of injury to the blood vessels and it can happen due to an accident or some other trauma to the body.

- In some cases, even minor injuries to nails and other parts can lead to a small hematoma.

- Even injury due to surgery can also result in hematoma in many cases.

- When you go for any invasive treatment, you should understand that there is a risk of hematoma as blood can easily leak outside the blood vessels and get accumulated.

- The situation gets even worse when medications like blood thinners or insulin are used as they cause considerable damage to the blood vessels.

- Any medication that affects the ability of the blood to clot properly puts you under risk of developing hematoma due to a small injury.

- Apart from these, you will notice that liver disease that is running for a long duration can also lead to this condition.

- In the same manner, blood cancers or bleeding disorders can also be the causes of hematoma in many patients.

Diagnosis of Hematoma

-  Physical examination : This is the first method used to diagnose the issue as most of the external damage will be clearly visible. It happens usually in the surrounding area of the affected part and doctors can easily confirm the presence of hematoma through a simple physical examination. However, when the injury is inside the body, it becomes difficult to analyze the problem as symptoms may not be visible all the time. In this situation, further blood tests and other tests may be prescribed by the doctors.

-  Blood Test : The blood sample test will help doctors to understand the injury and this will give some hints about hematoma formation inside the body. When they notice any abnormal readings in the diagnosis of hematoma through a blood sample, they will suggest further scanning tests to get confirmation about the problem.

-  CT scan : A CT scan will be very useful to determine the hematoma condition in case of brain injury or abdomen injury. Based on the results of this test, the doctors will be able to determine the extent of clotting and this will help them to prescribe the suitable treatment for the issue.

-  MRI scan : In many cases, patients are also advised to take this test along with other tests to know about the level of damage done to the body due to hematoma formation. This gives reliable results in detecting various types of hematomas and doctors usually suggest them when other tests are not giving accurate results.

Prevention of Hematoma

It can be very difficult to particularly prevent hematoma as it may not occur every time you have an injury. In many cases, it can even happen due to a sudden twist of the leg or arms and this cannot be prevented in any manner. However, if you are taking any medication that results in blood thinning, you should be extra careful about any injuries as this can certainly lead to hematoma formation in the body. Apart from that, you should always consider brain injury seriously as hematoma in the brain can be fatal in some cases. On the other hand, hematoma in external regions like hands, legs and nails are not serious conditions and they usually go away after few weeks. You should also take special care of children and elderly people and ensure that they do not injure themselves due to a fall. Remember that the symptoms of internal hematoma are not clearly visible and it can grow to a large size before symptoms become visible. It can be very late in many cases and you should never take any chances with internal injuries and always approach doctors and take up the required tests to determine hematoma condition.

Treatment for Hematoma

-  Medication : This is the common mode of treatment for hematoma as it helps to reduce the pain and discomfort caused due to this condition. It is widely used in treating external injuries and the swelling can be controlled by using a suitable medication. However, when it comes to internal hematoma formation, medication can do very little to control the damage and other methods need to be explored to find the right solution.

-  Surgery : It is possible to drain the blood that is clotted inside by way of small surgery and this is popularly used to treat internal hematoma. When the doctors are able to detect the exact location of hematoma inside the body, this procedure is used. If the injury is in the brain, it is removed using surgery only when it is easily accessible and there is no risk to other regions of the brain. In complicated cases, the hematoma is left as it is and doctors monitor the condition on a regular basis.

Complications of Hematoma

-  Swelling : When hematoma is formed internally, it can grow to a large size and look like a lump. This can easily affect other regions of the body and it needs immediate attention. You should never hesitate to go for a surgery to get it removed as it can cause severe complications when it is left inside the body. In the case of head injury, when there is any clotting that happens in any region of the brain, it can hamper various functions of the brain and lead to fatal consequences in future. Even when it happens in the abdomen region, it can easily affect the liver and other organs in the body. For this reason, you should never neglect internal injuries and always treat them effectively in quick time.

-  Inflammation : This is amongst the common complications of hematoma and it can lead to inflammation in the affected area. When blood gets collected outside the blood vessels in large quantities, it can easily create various problems and doctors will use certain surgical procedures wherever possible to remove the clotting. If the clotting is left without any treatment, the inflammation can lead to other complications in future.

-  Infection : remember that blood cells die when they move outside of the blood vessels or veins and this has to be removed from the body. Otherwise, it can lead to infections as the dead cells attract bacteria and other harmful elements towards different organs. When this is formed in the external region, it becomes easy to treat the issue. However, when the injury is internal, it can infect other organs and lead to various complications.

Myths about Hematoma

Myth #1: Black eye is not fatal :

While this is true in the majority of cases, you should always be extra careful as the injury is due to trauma to the brain. In this situation, you should always approach a doctor and go for image scans that can ascertain the extent of damage to the brain. In most cases, the pain will subside in a few days and the injury will not be fatal unless severe damage has occurred inside the brain.

Myth #2: Ice cubes can cure hematoma :

This is not true in every case and surgery along with medication may be suitable for most cases. Only in the case of external injury when symptoms are clearly visible, you can use ice packs to reduce the symptoms. It is advisable to only use this on hands and legs and not when the injury is done to the brain or other regions.

Myth #3: Using painkillers is okay :

This is not true in every case and you should understand that some painkillers can thin the blood. In this way, the hematoma formation can get a boost and this can complicate the entire situation. Especially when you are dealing with an internal injury, you should always take the suggestions of your doctor with regards to using painkillers. They will perform a suitable diagnosis and then prescribe the appropriate medication that can reduce the symptoms of hematoma.


As you can see, hematoma can occur even due to a minor injury. It becomes fatal only when the injury is done to the brain and hematoma formation occurs in that region. Otherwise, in most cases, they do not cause too much damage apart from temporary pain and discomfort. While external hematomas are easy to detect and treat, the internal ones need a careful diagnosis and they also need special treatment. Depending on the affected area, hematomas can be risky or they can even get resolved on their own within a few weeks. The simple thing you can do when you notice any symptoms is to approach a doctor to examine the situation. They will suggest the suitable procedure that can give you relief from the symptoms in a quick time.

Last updated on : 14-09-2018

Disclaimer : Docprime doesn’t endorse or take any guarantee of the accuracy or completeness of information provided under this article and these are the views strictly of the writer. Docprime shall not be held responsible for any aspect of healthcare services administered with the information provided on this article.

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