August 29, 2015
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Hematoma (cont.)

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What is the treatment for a hematoma?

Treatment of hematoma depends on the location, symptoms, and the clinical situation. Some may require no treatment at all while others may be deemed a medical emergency.

Can I care for a hematoma myself?

Simple therapies at home may be utilized in treating superficial (under the skin) hematomas. Most injuries and bruises can be treated with resting, icing, compression, and elevating the area. This is remembered by the acronym RICE. These measures usually help to reduce inflammation and diminish its symptoms.

  • 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.)

What is the medical treatment for a hematoma?

For certain small and symptom-free hematomas no medical treatment may be necessary. On the other hand, symptomatic hematomas or those located in certain locations sometimes require medical or surgical treatment.

Even though no specific mediation is available for the treatment of hematomas, management of any related symptoms can be achieved by medications. For example, pain from a hematoma can be treated with pain medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol).

Surgical drainage is a common method of treatment for certain hematomas. Presence of symptoms and location of the hematoma generally dictate what type of procedure is needed and how urgently it needs to be done. For example, a subdural hematoma resulting in symptoms such as headache, weakness, or confusion may require urgent drainage by a neurosurgeon. Conversely, if a subdural hematoma is thought to be symptom-free and chronic, it may be left alone and monitored occasionally by imaging studies (CT scan).

Furthermore, a subungual hematoma with severe discomfort can be drained through the nail to allow the blood to drain from the space between the nail and the underlying tissue. Large subungual hematomas that are left in place can sometimes compromise the nail and result in the nail dying and falling out. Draining such hematomas can save the overlying nail.

If any underlying cause or contributing factor exists that predisposes to bleeding, its correction or treatment may also be a necessary step in treating hematomas. For example, if a person with a hematoma is on a blood thinner medication for another condition, the treating doctor may opt to discontinue or even reverse the blood thinner, depending on the individual situation.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/24/2015


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