Information about Hematoma Injuries

By Attorney Mark Breyer

Hematoma injuries can cause serious complications for victims and if you've ever suffered a bruise, a bump, or another injury that leaves you in pain, then you've already experienced the basic suffering that comes with a hematoma. If you have a hematoma, even if it is a minor one, it can cause debilitating pain that makes it difficult to work, to play, or to carry on with your normal life. A hematoma that involves your head can leave you unable to enjoy or carry on your life for weeks, months, or even years.

Left untreated, severe hematoma injuries can be fatal due to the extreme amount of swelling that accompanies these injuries. Understanding hematoma injuries and knowing how to recognize the symptoms and get help before serious or permanent damage can occur is an important component of ensuring that fatalities do not result from hematoma injuries.

Hematoma Injury Defined

Hematomas are injuries that result from a pooling of blood around blood vessels. This pooling occurs after blood vessels are broken or damaged, and the blood within leaks out into the tissues surrounding the blood vessels. Hematomas can also happen when damage occurs to the arteries, veins or capillaries. Although many hematomas are small and may not even be noticed for months, or ever, there are many hematomas that can cause serious pain and damage, and present very noticeable swellings at the site of the injury.

For some people, minor hematoma injuries are best characterized as bumps and bruises. But, in more serious cases, hematoma injuries can be characterized as severe head, brain, organ, and tissue injuries that present when severe internal bleeding causes additional complications and pain.

Causes of Hematoma Injuries

A severe impact to any part of the human body can result in the development of a hematoma. Getting hit in the head, in the arm, the leg, or another body part with enough blunt force can cause a hematoma to develop in just a short period of time. In many cases, the accident is the fault of another person who does not practice safety and smart thinking on the road, at the park, or in the workplace. People who are involved in serious accidents including car crashes, motorcycle accidents, bicycle crashes, sports accidents, and assault incidents are frequently the victims of hematoma injuries. Children who get into fights, fall down, and run into walls and other objects on a regular basis or with great force also frequently suffer these types of injuries.

Major Types of Hematoma Injuries

There are several major types of hematoma injuries including intracranial, subdural, epidural, and intracerebral hematomas, all of which are serious and may require neurosurgery in order to completely heal. Less serious hematoma injuries can heal on their own and typically resemble raised bruises, though these injuries can still cause a significant amount of pain and suffering for the injury victims.

Risk Factors

Although all people are at risk for suffering from a hematoma injury just from being involved in an accident, some people are more at risk than others. Individuals who are taking blood thinner medications are at an increased risk for bleeding after injuries, even the most minor ones. Older individuals are more susceptible to sustaining hematoma injuries, especially those that occur alongside head injuries since the soft tissues surrounding the skull and brain are softer and more easily damaged.

Children, too, are frequently the victims of serious and minor hematoma injuries. While minor hematoma injuries are to be expected with both young and old victims serious or repeated hematoma injuries to the skin or other parts of the body should be closely monitored and reported to a doctor.

Symptoms of a Hematoma Injury

Symptoms of hematomas change depending on the location of the injury. However, nearly all hematomas present symptoms of inflammation, pain, redness, and swelling. Some hematomas cause excessive swelling or edema. Bumps and bruises are typical symptoms of a hematoma, but these are not serious symptoms and usually go away on their own after a few days. The location of a hematoma and the symptoms that accompany the injury are important in determining whether or not you should call a doctor.

Victims who have suffered a hematoma to the head may experience symptoms like vomiting, headache, severe nausea, and the inability to be awakened from sleep.

Intracranial hematoma injuries, or those that involve the skull, its symptoms may take days to present, making it crucial than any symptoms of a head injury be evaluated by a doctor immediately. Due to the changing nature of symptoms aligned with hematoma injuries and different parts of the body people should have a complete physical checkup done by a medical doctor in order to assess their condition and ensure that they do not need further treatment.

Hematoma Diagnosis

Because hematomas can occur on the surface of the skin or under the skin, in the skull, and in the organs, there are different ways in which doctors must diagnose these injuries. Surface hematomas that happen to the soft tissues of the body or to the skin are highly visible and easy for doctors to diagnose. For more serious hematoma injuries, or those that involve internal bleeding, there are many different means for doctors to find and diagnose a hematoma injury.

Some doctors use a regular x-ray, while CT scans, MRIs, and ultrasounds may also be helpful in certain cases. Only your doctor can determine what type of tool should be used to diagnose your hematoma injury. Diagnosis for hematoma injuries can be difficult for medical doctors when patients do not believe that their injuries merit a trip to be evaluated. Waiting several days, or even hours in some cases, to report a serious injury to a doctor after a crash, can be a life threatening mistake as blood begins to pool and clot.

Prognosis and Healing for Hematoma Injuries

In the case of minor hematoma injuries, ice and rest are two of the best ways to help the injury heal. These injuries have an excellent prognosis since they are simple to recover from. However, more significant hematoma injuries may be life threatening or cause permanent damage, and if healing is possible, it may take months or even years for complete healing to take place. In cases where the skull and brain are involved, healing often requires neurosurgical interventions.

Prognosis for serious hematoma injuries depends upon where the injury was sustained on the body and how quickly a doctor was able to detect the injury. Those serious hematoma injuries that take a long time to diagnose or that are not brought to a doctor's attention quickly enough can present with sad side effects and prognoses. Permanent brain damage, paralysis, loss of motor functions, and even death are some of the outcomes associated with serious hematoma injury cases.

Potential Complications

Hematoma injuries can be accompanied by significant complications, especially in cases where the symptoms do not manifest for several days and the injury goes untreated. The swelling and inflammation of the tissues surrounding the broken blood vessel can irritate organs and tissues in the surrounding area, causing widespread pain and additional inflammation and swelling.

Hematoma injuries also present a significant risk for infection. Hematomas are created by the pooling of blood outside of the blood vessel, but, without a constant flow of new blood, bacteria begins to grow. Infections caused by the growth of bacteria can quickly become life threatening.

For those individuals who suffer a hematoma injury to the head or other internal organs, other complications may arise as a result of the pressure exerted on these important organs. Pressure on the brain from a subdural hematoma can cause serious pain, loss of vision and memory, and even death in serious cases. Most commonly, hematoma injury patients lose the ability to work for at least a short period of time.

Subdural Hematoma

Subdural hematoma injuries occur when blood pools in an area inside the skull and outside the brain. Bleeding in the brain is most often characterized as life threatening and the additional pressure caused by the buildup of blood can be paralyzing, severely debilitating and life threatening. Although not all subdural hematomas require surgical interventions, the majority of these types of injuries do require major surgery. The large majority of subdural hematoma injuries are sustained in head injury accidents, like playing sports, being hurt in a car crash, or being assaulted by another person.

Headaches, confusion, nausea, behavioral changes, and increase in fatigue are all signs that a person who has suffered a head injury may have suffered a subdural hematoma that should be examined by a doctor.

Intracranial Hematoma

Intracranial hematomas can happen in a variety of different ways, and not all of them must be characterized as violent. Although many head injuries that lead to an intracranial hematoma happen in car crashes, many still occur with just a good bump on the head. The problem with intracranial hematoma injuries is that they may present other symptoms of a head injury but show no outward signs of injury.

Epidural hematoma

While epidural hematoma injuries still involve the skull, these injuries are different than other types of hematoma injuries involving the head because of their unique method of causing problems. Epidural hematomas occur in the layer between the skill and the dura mater. The problem with this type of injury is that it causes serious pressure to be exerted upon the surrounding brain tissue, which can impact memory, behavior, and the ability to do several things that are required in order to work, play, and live your life.

Intracerebral Hematoma

Serious head trauma typically leads to intracerebral hematoma injuries. These injuries are especially dangerous because they are not only a hematoma placing pressure on the brain but also because these injuries cause the brain axons, or receptors, to become damaged. Severe brain damage is one of the most real and terrifying results of this type of hematoma injury. Some intracranial hematomas are the result of blood vessel disorders, some types of autoimmune disorders and diseases, brain tumors, lone term hypertension, conditions involving the neurological system, blood thinners, cerebral disorders, infections in the central nervous system, and even drug use, like cocaine.

Getting Legal Help after a Hematoma Injury

The fact that you could suffer a hematoma injury in an accident is no reason to avoid living your life and enjoying the activities that you love. Playing it safe can help you to reduce your risk of injury, but not eliminate the risk all together. If you sustain a serious hematoma injury, you will likely need help in order to make a full recovery. The Husband and Wife Law Team understands the pain and suffering that come with a hematoma injury and can help you make the right decisions for your future and for your recovery.

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