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Hematoma: Care Instructions

Your Care Instructions

A hematoma is a bad bruise. It happens when an injury causes blood to collect and pool under the skin. The pooling blood gives the skin a spongy, rubbery, lumpy feel.

A hematoma usually is not a cause for concern. It is not the same thing as a blood clot in a vein, and it does not cause blood clots.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Rest and protect the bruised area.
  • Put ice or a cold pack on the area for 10 to 20 minutes at a time.
  • Prop up the bruised area on a pillow when you ice it or anytime you sit or lie down during the next 3 days. Try to keep it above the level of your heart. This will help reduce swelling.
  • Wrapping the bruised area with an elastic bandage such as an Ace wrap will help decrease swelling. Don't wrap it too tightly, as this can cause more swelling below the affected area.
  • Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
    • If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed.
    • If you are not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • Do not take two or more pain medicines at the same time unless the doctor told you to. Many pain medicines have acetaminophen, which is Tylenol. Too much acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be harmful.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have signs of skin infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
    • Red streaks leading from the area.
    • Pus draining from the area.
    • A fever.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • The bruise lasts longer than 4 weeks.
  • The bruise gets bigger or becomes more painful.
  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.