1. Health
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.



Updated May 19, 2014

USA, New Jersey, Jersey City, Portrait of woman with black eye
Tetra Images - Jamie Grill/Brand X Pictures
Definition: A hematoma refers to an abnormal collection of blood in the body that is typically the result of a broken or ruptured blood vessel. Hematomas can cause a minor skin bruise, or a collection of clotted blood that is deep within a muscle, organ or even the skull.

Hematomas near the skin result in a large patch of skin discoloration (typically black and blue) that occurs after a trauma to the soft tissue. A bruise develops when small blood vessels beneath the skin rupture and blood leaks into the soft tissue beneath the skin.

Epidural Hematoma
A more serious hematoma is an epidural hematoma, in which a blood vessel in the brain ruptures and a blood clot forms between the skull and the brain's protective covering (the dura). This clot grows slowly and puts pressure on the brain that, if not treated promptly, can result in death. If you suspect a head injury but don't see any initial signs or symptoms, you should follow the head injury first aid treatment steps.

Treating Superficial Hematomas
Hematomas cause pain, swelling and tenderness over the area of skin discoloration or deep withing the body. A large hematoma may last weeks to months and it heals, it will change color and slowly shrink in size.

Treating a superficial hematoma is similar to the treatment used for other soft tissue injuries. Using the R.I.C.E method is recommended. Apply ice to the area for 15 minutes, several times per day.

Mild hematomas and contusions typically heal within about five days.

Also Known As: Contusion or bruise

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.