Abdominal Hematoma

Facts about Abdominal Hematoma

Pains in the area of the stomach can be indications that an abdominal hematoma is present; especially when some type of trauma has recently occurred.  While many people associate trauma with an accident of some sort, it can also be linked to surgery or even something as innocent as a twist in the wrong direction, as well. 

Definition of a hematoma

When a blood vessel breaks, the blood which is within it leaks out into surrounding tissue.  It can occur anywhere in the body, with the most frequently seen and most easily identifiable type being a bruise.  There is a distinction between a true hematoma and a bruise, however.  A hematoma is blood that collects in a pocket within the tissue in liquid form, while a bruise is a thin layer of blood directly underneath the epidermis.  In most cases, surface hematomas are not a cause for concern as blood vessels will repair themselves and the blood that has leaked will be absorbed into the body.  In some instances, however, the pocket of blood does not dissolve.  There are several types of hematoma, with their names indicative of their locations. 

Who is at risk?

Anyone can develop hematomas.  They can occur as the result from a fall or a direct blow, a muscle strain, surgical procedures, poisoning or accidents as well as other incidental reasons.  A large number of disorders and diseases also list hematomas as one of the symptoms that can be experienced, including leukemia and hemophilia.  In addition, there are certain medications prescribed for specific conditions that prevent blood clotting, such as warfarin, aspirin, prasugrel and clopidogrel.  The opportunity for spontaneous bleeding is greatly increased, making the development of a spreading hematoma for these individuals much more dangerous.

Abdominal hematoma

Hematomas in the abdominal wall are not a frequent occurrence.  Typical causes for the blood loss in this area are accidents such as hard falls, disease or surgeries.  The rarest types of these hematomas are spontaneous cases.  Those who suffer from a disease such as hemophilia can develop hematoma in the abdominal wall by simply experiencing a severe bout of coughing or sneezing.  In addition, ruptures of major abdominal arteries such as the deep iliac circumflex artery or the subcostal artery, most frequently seen following surgery, will create blood pools in the soft tissues and the surrounding muscles. 

When a hematoma develops in the abdominal wall, peritonitis can also occur due to the irritation to the lining of the wall of the abdomen.  Infection can develop to complicate the condition further, so it is vital to seek medical attention with any type of hematoma in the abdominal area.


The underlying cause for the hematoma will dictate the type of treatment performed.  A physical examination can detect the presence of a hematoma.  Ultrasound and CT examinations will likely be conducted to determine the size of the hematoma. Embolization, a process of inserting a miniscule catheter into a bleeding vessel to seal it, may be performed.  This procedure is minimally invasive and generally highly successful in treating abdominal hematoma occurrences.  In some cases, open surgery is required to drain collected blood from the area.  For cases caused by a fall or accident trauma, treatment of the cause of the bleeding will likely be addressed first, allowing the body’s natural elimination methods to absorb the blood within the abdominal wall.  In cases that are mild, RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation) may prove to be successful.

When an incident occurs that results in the development of an abdominal hematoma, it is wise to seek the advice of a medical profession immediately.  While the body automatically takes care of most types of hematomas, there are infrequent cases that require medical attention.