February 11, 2016
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Hematoma (cont.)

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Should I follow-up with my doctor?

Location, symptoms, and size of a hematoma are the typical factors that determine its proper follow-up. For example a small, symptom-free (asymptomatic) subdural hematoma may only require repeat CT scans of the head every few months for follow-up. On the other hand, a large leg hematoma that had been opened and drained may be observed within a few days to ensure expected improvement.

Can a hematoma be prevented?

Prevention of all hematomas is not entirely possible. However, prevention of hematomas in certain contexts deserves special attention.

In people, especially the elderly, who take blood thinners or anti-platelet medications (aspirin or clopidogrel), falls are a common cause of trauma and hematoma formation. Falls can cause hematomas in the legs, chest, or brain, and may, at times, result in significant illness or death. Therefore, measures to prevent falls in this population potentially lower the frequency of hematomas as well.

Children are also at risk to develop hematomas frequently due to falls and minor injuries. In particular, younger children are more prone to bumping their head, causing a small egg-shaped swelling in the area of injury. Therefore, child-proofing the home and furniture may help in decreasing hematomas in children.

Hematoma that results from trauma due to heavy physical work or contact sports is less preventable unless such activities are stopped or modified to reduce the risk of trauma and injury.

What is the outlook after suffering from a hematoma?

In general, the outlook for hematoma is favorable, and most times they do not lead to serious illness or disability. The location of a hematoma plays a role in its prognosis.

REFERENCE: D. Long, et al., Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 18th Edition, McGraw-Hill Professional, 2011.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/15/2015

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