What is hematoma?

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Hematoma: Overview

A hematoma is a bad bruise. It happens when an injury causes blood to collect and pool under the skin. The pooling blood gives the skin a spongy, rubbery, lumpy feel.

A hematoma usually is not a cause for concern. It is not the same thing as a blood clot in a vein, and it does not cause blood clots.

How can you care for a hematoma?

  • Rest and protect the bruised area.
  • Put ice or a cold pack on the area for 10 to 20 minutes at a time.
  • Prop up the bruised area on a pillow when you ice it or anytime you sit or lie down during the next 3 days. Try to keep it above the level of your heart. This will help reduce swelling.
  • Wrapping the bruised area with an elastic bandage such as an Ace wrap will help decrease swelling. Don't wrap it too tightly, as this can cause more swelling below the affected area.
  • Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
    • If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed.
    • If you are not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • Do not take two or more pain medicines at the same time unless the doctor told you to. Many pain medicines have acetaminophen, which is Tylenol. Too much acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be harmful.

Hematoma: When to call

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have signs of skin infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
    • Red streaks leading from the area.
    • Pus draining from the area.
    • A fever.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • The bruise lasts longer than 4 weeks.
  • The bruise gets bigger or becomes more painful.
  • You do not get better as expected.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.