Hematoma

What are the types of hematomas? (Part 4)

Subungual hematomas are the result of crush injuries to the fingers or toes. Bleeding occurs under the fingernail or toenail and since it is trapped, pressure builds causing pain. Trephination, or drilling a hole through the nail to remove the blood clot, relieves the pressure and resolves the injury. Over time, the nail repairs itself.

Bruises and contusions of the skin (ecchymosis) are terms that describe subcutaneous hematomas. These occur due to trauma or injuries to the superficial blood vessels under the skin. Individuals who take anticoagulant medication are more prone to subcutaneous hematomas.

Intra-abdominal hematomas and hemorrhage may be due to a variety of injuries or illnesses. Regardless of how the blood gets into the abdomen, the clinical finding is peritonitis (irritation of the lining of the abdomen). Hematomas may occur in solid organs such as the liver, spleen, or kidney. They may occur within the walls of the bowel, including the small intestine (duodenum, jejunum, and ileum) or the large intestine (colon). Hematomas may also form within the lining of the abdomen called the peritoneum or behind the peritoneum in the retroperitoneal space (retro=behind).

Passing clots or hematomas is a common complaint when women menstruate. Blood can accumulate in the vagina as part of the normal menses and instead of flowing out immediately, it may form small blood clots. Passing blood clots after delivering a baby is also relatively common. However, vaginal bleeding and passing blood clots or hematomas while pregnant is not normal and should be a sign to seek immediate medical attention.

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.

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Reviewed on 11/19/2013