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.
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.
In this Article
- Hematoma facts
- What is a hematoma?
- What causes a hematoma?
- What are the types of hematomas?
- What are the symptoms of a hematoma?
- When should I call the doctor about a hematoma?
- How is a hematoma diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for a hematoma?
- What are the complications of a hematoma?
- Can hematomas be prevented?
How is a hematoma diagnosed?
Hematomas of the skin and soft tissues, such as muscle and joints, are often diagnosed by physical examination alone.
For patients exhibiting signs of internal bleeding, the health care practitioner will decide what imaging modality is best to evaluate the situation. Plain X-rays may be needed to assess for bone fracture. Patients with significant head injury often require CT scanning. Ultrasound is the testing modality of choice for pregnant patients.
What is the treatment for a hematoma?
Hematomas of the skin and soft tissues are often treated with RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation). Some health care practitioners may advocate heat as another treatment alternative. The pain of a hematoma is usually due to the inflammation surrounding the blood and may be treated with over-the-counter pain medications. The choice of medication depends upon the underlying health of the patient. For those patients who are taking anticoagulation medications, ibuprofen is relatively contraindicated (not recommended) because of the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding. Patients with liver disease should not take over-the-counter acetaminophen. When in doubt, it is wise to ask the health care practitioner or pharmacist for a recommendation.
Treatment for hematomas involving other organs in the body depends upon what organ system is involved. In these cases, treatment will be tailored to the specific situation.
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