Table of Contents
Definition of Hematoma
Hematoma – Bleeding into the tissues that forms a contained mass. Most superficial hematomas are benign, such as the common hematoma auris, involving the auricle (outer ear) and black eye, involving the orbital tissues surrounding the eye.
Such hematomas typically occur as the consequence of blows to the tissues that cause blood vessels to break.
As the blood coagulates the mass hardens. A hematoma may take weeks to several months to fully resolve as the body works to dismantle the clot. Most superficial hematomas do not require medical care, though a doctor should evaluate any injury that potentially involves the eye or symptoms of hearing loss.
An internal hematoma that occurs within the skull (subdural or subarachnoid hematoma) is particularly dangerous and even life-threatening because it causes increased pressure that damages the brain. Hematomas that occur within major organs such as the liver or the spleen are also serious.
These hematomas may be the result of trauma or may occur because of anomalous blood vessel structures (such as hemangioma) that spontaneously rupture. Internal hematomas require medical evaluation and careful monitoring. The doctor may recommend surgical removal of hematomas that threaten the function of vital organs such as the brain or the liver.