Are you curious to know what is a hematoma after surgery? You have come to the right place as I am going to tell you everything about a hematoma after surgery in a very simple explanation. Without further discussion let’s begin to know what is a hematoma after surgery?
What Is A Hematoma After Surgery?
Undergoing surgery, whether elective or necessary, comes with its own set of risks and potential complications. One such complication that may occur post-surgery is a hematoma. A hematoma after surgery is a collection of blood that forms outside a blood vessel. In this blog, we will delve into what a hematoma is, its causes, common symptoms, how it’s diagnosed, and the treatment options available.
What Is A Hematoma?
A hematoma is a localized collection of blood that forms outside of blood vessels. It occurs when blood vessels are damaged or disrupted, causing blood to pool and clot in the surrounding tissue. Hematomas can vary in size, from small bruises to larger, more significant collections of blood.
Causes Of Hematoma After Surgery
- Trauma to Blood Vessels: Hematomas after surgery often result from trauma to blood vessels during the procedure. This trauma can be caused by surgical instruments, improper handling of tissues, or surgical complications.
- Blood Thinners: Patients who are taking blood-thinning medications, such as aspirin or anticoagulants, are at a higher risk of developing post-surgical hematomas due to their reduced ability to clot.
- Surgical Site: The risk of hematoma formation can also depend on the location of the surgical site. Some areas of the body, such as the head, face, and limbs, may be more prone to hematomas.
Common Symptoms Of Hematoma After Surgery
- Swelling: Swelling at or near the surgical site is a common sign of a hematoma. The swelling can be quite noticeable and may develop shortly after surgery.
- Discoloration: Hematomas are often associated with bruising. The collection of blood beneath the skin can result in the appearance of blue, black, or purple discoloration.
- Pain: Patients may experience pain or discomfort at the site of the hematoma. The pain can range from mild to severe, depending on the size and location of the collection.
- Warmth and Tenderness: The area around the hematoma may feel warm to the touch and can be tender or painful when pressure is applied.
Diagnosis Of Hematoma
Diagnosing a hematoma after surgery typically involves a combination of physical examination and, if necessary, medical imaging. A surgeon or healthcare provider may visually assess the area for swelling, bruising, and tenderness. In some cases, ultrasound or MRI scans may be used to confirm the presence and size of the hematoma and assess its impact on nearby tissues.
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Treatment Options For Hematoma After Surgery
- Observation: In some cases, small hematomas may resolve on their own without the need for medical intervention. The patient may be closely monitored, and the hematoma may be left to reabsorb over time.
- Drainage: Larger hematomas that cause pain, pressure, or affect the surgical site’s healing may require drainage. This procedure involves using a needle and syringe or surgical drainage to remove the collected blood.
- Medication: Pain management with over-the-counter or prescription pain medications may be recommended to alleviate discomfort associated with the hematoma.
- Compression: Applying pressure or using a compression bandage can help reduce swelling and encourage the reabsorption of the hematoma.
- Reoperation: In rare cases, especially when a hematoma affects the surgical outcome or poses a risk to the patient’s health, a reoperation may be necessary to address the issue.
Prevention Of Hematoma
Preventing hematomas after surgery largely depends on the surgical team’s skill, careful handling of tissues, and adherence to safety protocols. Patients can also reduce the risk by following post-surgery instructions, including avoiding the use of blood-thinning medications without medical approval.
Hematomas after surgery, while relatively common, are manageable and treatable. They typically resolve with time or require straightforward interventions like drainage. Patients are encouraged to communicate any concerning symptoms with their healthcare providers to ensure a timely and appropriate response to post-surgical hematomas. While they can be a source of discomfort, hematomas are typically a temporary setback in the overall recovery process.
How Serious Is A Hematoma After Surgery?
Most hematomas are small and do not cause additional complications. However, this postoperative complication increases the risk of surgical site infection, 4 , 5 which may require intravenous treatment with antibiotics and a prolonged hospital stay. Mortazavi et al.
When Should You Worry About A Hematoma?
If the hematoma symptoms are severe or if it continues to expand over the course of a few days, you should visit your doctor right away.
How Do You Get Rid Of A Hematoma Surgery?
The haematoma is gently removed using suction and irrigation, where it’s washed away with fluid. After the procedure, the section of skull is put back in place and secured using metal plates or screws. This is usually performed under a general anaesthetic, which means you’ll be asleep while it’s carried out.
How Long Does It Take For Hematoma To Go Away?
Gradually the blood in the hematoma is absorbed back into the body. The swelling and pain of the hematoma will go away. This takes from 1 to 4 weeks, depending on the size of the hematoma. The skin over the hematoma may turn bluish then brown and yellow as the blood is dissolved and absorbed.
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