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glossary:hematoma

Hematoma

An abnormal localized collection of blood in which the blood is usually clotted or partially clotted and is usually situated within an organ or a soft tissue space, such as within a muscle.

A hematoma is caused by a break in the wall of a blood vessel. The break may be spontaneous, as in the case of an aneurysm, or caused by trauma.

The treatment of a hematoma depends on its location and size. Treatment can involve draining the accumulated blood. A hematoma in or near the brain is particularly dangerous.

The word “hematoma” came into usage around 1850. It was devised from Greek roots – hemat-, referring to the blood + -oma, from soma meaning body = a bloody body, or a collection of blood.

The many different kinds of hematomas are defined by location and include:

Epidural hematoma

A hematoma between the cranium (skull) and the brain's tissue-like covering, which is known as the dura. Epidural hematoma is usually caused by a full-on blow to the head, and is often associated with a skull fracture. Diagnosis is usually by CAT scan. Treatment is by trepanation: drilling through the skull to drain the excess blood

Extradural hematoma

A hematoma between the cranium (skull) and the brain's tissue-like covering, which is known as the dura. Epidural hematoma is usually caused by a full-on blow to the head, and is often associated with a skull fracture. Diagnosis is usually by CAT scan. Treatment is by trepanation: drilling through the skull to drain the excess blood

Intracerebral hematoma

Bleeding within the brain. Diagnosis is usually by MRI or CAT scan. Treatment is by surgery.

Intracranial hematoma

A hematoma (a collection of blood) within the cranium (skull). The bleed may or may not be within the brain itself.

Nasal septum hematoma

An accumulation of blood within the nasal septum, the wall inside the nose that runs down the middle dividing it into two sides.

Most nasal septum hematomas are due to trauma. Treatment is incision (to drain the blood from the hematoma), packing of the nose (to keep the blood from reaccumulating) and antibiotics, if infected.

Occipital hematoma

A hematoma (collection of blood) in the occipital region (at the back of the head). An occipital hematoma may be either subdural or epidural.

In an occipital epidural hematoma, the bleeding occurs between the skull and the dura (the brain cover). The bleeding is from an injury to a vein or a branch of the posterior meningeal artery. Occipital epidural hematoma is often caused by a full-on blow to the head and may be associated with a skull fracture.

In an occipital subdural hematoma, the bleeding is into the space between the dura and the brain itself. As the hematoma enlarges, it can put increasing pressure on the brain and cause neurological abnormalities including slurred speech, impaired gait, and dizziness and lead to coma and even death.

The diagnosis of an occipital hematoma, whether it be epidural or subdural, may be confirmed by MRI or CAT scan. Treatment may range from watchful waiting in the case of a small epidural bleed to trepanation – drilling through the skull to drain the excess blood.

Subcutaneous hematoma

A bruise.

Subdural hematoma

Bleeding into the space between the dura (the brain cover) and the brain itself. This space is called the subdural space. If the hematoma puts increased pressure on the brain, neurological abnormalities including slurred speech, impaired gait, and dizziness may result and progress to coma and even death.

Subdural hematomas can be caused by minor accidents to the head, major trauma, or the spontaneous bursting of a blood vessel in the brain (aneurysm). Acute subdural hematomas are usually due to severe head trauma. Chronic subdural hematomas may be very insidious. They usually go unnoticed, sometimes for 2 to 4 weeks: When they do cause problems, the incident that caused the bleeding is often long past. Symptoms include increasing daily headache, fluctuating drowsiness or confusion, and mild weakness on one side of the body. Subdural hematomas are more common in alcoholics and patients over 50 years of age. In infants, subdural hematomas can cause the fontanel to bulge and the head circumference to enlarge.

Diagnosis is usually confirmed by MRI or CAT scan. Treatment is by trepanation – drilling through the skull to drain the excess blood.

Common Misspellings: haematoma

glossary/hematoma.txt · Last modified: 2012/10/16 14:40 (external edit)