Table of Contents
- Hematoma definition and facts
- What is a hematoma?
- What causes a hematoma?
- What conditions cause a hematoma?
- What are other conditions that cause hematomas?
- What are the different types of hematomas?
- What are epidural and subdural hematomas?
- What are intracerebral and scalp hematomas?
- What are ear and nasal hematomas?
- What are intramuscular and subungual hematomas?
- What are subcutaneous and intra-abdominal hematomas?
- What are the symptoms of a hematoma?
- How does a hematoma resolve?
- When should I call a 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?
What are the different types of hematomas?
Hematomas are often described based upon their location. The most dangerous hematomas are those that occur inside the skull. Because the skull is an enclosed container, anything that takes up space increases pressure within and potentially impairs the ability of the brain to function.
What are epidural and subdural hematomas?
Epidural hematomas occur because of trauma, often to the temple, where the middle meningeal artery is located. Bleeding accumulates in the epidural space, outside the "dura" which is the lining of the brain. Because of the way the dura is attached to the skull, small hematomas can cause significant pressure and brain injury.
Subdural hematomas also occur because of trauma but the injury is usually to the veins in the brain. This causes a slower leak of blood, which enters the "subdural" space below the dura. The space below the dura has much more room for blood to accumulate before brain function suffers. As people age, they lose some brain tissue and the subdural space is relatively larger. Bleeding into the subdural space may be very slow, gradually stop, and not cause acute symptoms. These “chronic” subdural hematomas are often found incidentally on computerized tomography (CT) scans as part of a patient evaluation for confusion or because another traumatic incident occurred. However, subdural hematomas may be large, cause associated brain swelling, and may be lethal.