Hematoma

  • Medical Author:
    Benjamin Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM

    Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

  • Medical Editor: Mary D. Nettleman, MD, MS, MACP
    Mary D. Nettleman, MD, MS, MACP

    Mary D. Nettleman, MD, MS, MACP

    Mary D. Nettleman, MD, MS, MACP is the Chair of the Department of Medicine at Michigan State University. She is a graduate of Vanderbilt Medical School, and completed her residency in Internal Medicine and a fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Indiana University.

Quick GuideConcussions & Brain Injuries: Symptoms, Tests, Treatment

Concussions & Brain Injuries: Symptoms, Tests, Treatment

What is a hematoma?

A hematoma is an abnormal collection of blood outside of a blood vessel. It occurs because the wall of a blood vessel wall, artery, vein, or capillary, has been damaged and blood has leaked into tissues where it does not belong. The hematoma may be tiny, with just a dot of blood, or it can be large and cause significant swelling.

The blood vessels in the body are under constant repair. Minor injuries occur routinely and the body is usually able to repair the damaged vessel wall by activating the blood clotting cascade and forming fibrin patches. Sometimes the repair fails if the damage is extensive and the large defect allows for continued bleeding. If there is great pressure within the blood vessel, for example, a major artery, the blood will continue to leak through the damaged wall and the hematoma will expand.

Blood that escapes from within a blood vessel is very irritating to the surrounding tissue and may cause symptoms of inflammation including pain, swelling, and redness. Symptoms of a hematoma depend upon their location, their size, and whether they cause associated swelling or edema.

Hematomas may occur anywhere in the body. Regardless of how a hematoma is described or where it is located, it remains a collection of clotted blood outside of a blood vessel. Continue Reading

Reviewed on 9/17/2015
References
REFERENCE:

Longo, Dan, et al. Harrisons's Principles of Internal Medicine. 18th ed. McGraw-Hill, 2011.

IMAGES:

1. iStock

2. Getty Images

3. iStock

4. iStock

5. iStock

6. MedicineNet

7. MedicineNet

8. MedicineNet

9. iStock

10. iStock

11. Getty Images

12. Getty Images

13. Getty Images

14. Istock

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Newsletters

Get the latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

VIEW PATIENT COMMENTS

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors