Abdominal Hematoma

Abdominal hematoma is bleeding in the abdomen.  This can be diagnosed with imaging tests.  This article aims to shed light on what an abdominal hematoma is, its causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options.

What is an Abdominal Hematoma?

An abdominal hematoma is essentially a collection of blood that forms within the abdominal cavity. This condition is typically the result of trauma or injury to the abdomen, which leads to bleeding and, subsequently, the formation of a hematoma. However, it can also occur due to other medical conditions that affect blood clotting or the integrity of blood vessels.

Causes of Abdominal Hematoma

Understanding the causes of an abdominal hematoma is crucial for both prevention and treatment. The most common cause is physical trauma, such as from a fall, a sports injury, or a car accident. Surgical procedures in the abdomen can also lead to hematoma formation. Additionally, certain medications that affect blood clotting, such as anticoagulants, can increase the risk of developing an abdominal hematoma. Other factors include conditions like liver disease, which may impair clotting, and abdominal aneurysms that rupture.

Recognizing the Symptoms of an Abdominal Hematoma

Symptoms of an abdominal hematoma can vary widely depending on the size and location of the hematoma. Common signs include abdominal pain and tenderness, a noticeable mass or swelling in the abdomen, and signs of internal bleeding, such as feeling faint, dizzy, or experiencing a rapid heartbeat. In some cases, if the hematoma is pressing on other organs, it can cause nausea, vomiting, or changes in bowel movements.

Diagnosing Abdominal Hematoma

Diagnosis of an abdominal hematoma begins with a thorough medical history and physical examination. Healthcare providers may also employ imaging tests to confirm the presence of a hematoma and assess its size and impact. Ultrasound is often the first step due to its accessibility and non-invasiveness. However, for a more detailed view, CT scans or MRI scans may be utilized. These imaging techniques can provide a clearer picture of the hematoma’s location, size, and any effect on surrounding structures.


Ultrasound: The First Line of Imaging

Ultrasound is often the first imaging technique employed when an abdominal hematoma is suspected. It uses sound waves to create images of the inside of the body, allowing doctors to see the organs and structures within the abdomen. Ultrasound is particularly useful for detecting fluid collections, such as blood, and can help differentiate a hematoma from other types of abdominal masses. Its non-invasive nature, lack of radiation exposure, and relative affordability make it an accessible and safe option for patients of all ages.

CT Scan: A Detailed View

When more detailed imaging is required, a computed tomography (CT) scan is often the next step. CT scans use X-rays and computer technology to produce cross-sectional images of the abdomen, providing a more detailed view than ultrasound. This allows for precise localization of the hematoma, assessment of its size, and evaluation of any impact on surrounding organs. CT scans are particularly valuable in emergency situations or when there is suspicion of complications, such as internal bleeding or organ damage.

MRI: High-Resolution Imaging

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is another advanced imaging technique that may be used in the diagnosis of abdominal hematomas. MRI provides high-resolution images using magnetic fields and radio waves, offering detailed views of soft tissues, blood vessels, and organs. This makes MRI excellent for assessing the characteristics of a hematoma, including its exact location, size, and any effect on nearby structures. MRI is particularly useful in cases where detailed visualization of soft tissue structures is crucial for diagnosis and treatment planning.

Angiography: Assessing Blood Vessels

In some cases, particularly when the hematoma is suspected to be related to blood vessel abnormalities, angiography may be performed. This imaging test involves injecting a contrast dye into the blood vessels and taking X-rays to visualize the blood flow and identify any abnormalities, such as aneurysms or arteriovenous malformations, which could contribute to the formation of a hematoma. Angiography can also be used therapeutically to treat certain types of hematomas by embolizing (blocking) the bleeding vessels.

 Treatment Options for Abdominal Hematoma

Treatment for an abdominal hematoma varies based on the size of the hematoma and the symptoms it causes. Small hematomas without significant symptoms may simply require observation.  In contrast, larger or symptomatic hematomas might necessitate medical intervention. This could include medication to manage pain and, in some cases, procedures to drain the hematoma or surgery to stop the bleeding and remove the blood collection.

Preventing Abdominal Hematoma

While not all cases of abdominal hematoma can be prevented, certain steps can reduce the risk. These include using seat belts and protective gear during activities that pose a risk of abdominal injury, managing conditions that affect blood clotting under medical supervision, and exercising caution with medications that can increase bleeding risk.


An abdominal hematoma is a serious condition that requires prompt attention and care. Recognizing the symptoms and seeking timely medical advice can make a significant difference in outcomes. With the right treatment and management, many individuals recover well from an abdominal hematoma.


Disclaimer: The content of this website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider.

Similar Posts