Hematoma describes a condition in which blood exists outside of blood vessels. It is actually a common problem that has been experienced by most people at multiple points in their lives.
Less serious examples of hematoma includes those that results from bruising of the skin or injury under the fingernails, or a small lump felt on the head of a child after an unfortunate incident in a jungle gym.
However, other hematomas, such as the retroperitoneal hematoma, can be life threatening. Below are ten facts about the causes, conditions and treatment of retroperitoneal hematomas.
1. Occurs in the lower back
A retroperitoneal hematoma, or retroperitoneal hemorrhage, occurs when blood accumulates in the lower back.
2. Retroperitoneal hematoma is rare
This specific type of hematoma involving the lower back, the retroperitoneal hematoma, is rare. In a study reviewing nearly 10,000 cases of catheterizations at a single hospital, only 45 patients, around 0.5%, had retroperitoneal hematomas.
3. Signs and symptoms
Symptoms of retroperitoneal hematoma include swelling and discomfort of the groin, back, and lower abdominal areas. Bruising of the skin is uncommon, resulting in a condition that is hard to discover.
Unless a doctor is familiar with the patient’s history or informed of specific injury, diagnosis without an ultrasound can be difficult.
Utrasound is an effective way to verify that bleeding is present, but it is not often accurate in determining the cause, creating yet another obstacle for the doctor. MRI is a more precise, though expensive, alternative.
4. It warrants immediate medical attention
If left untreated, the hematoma can block blood-flow to other parts of the body, resulting in a variety of medical emergencies.
People who suspect that they have the condition should immediately obtain the attention and aid of a medical professional.
5. Higher Risk with particular issues
The likelihood of developing a retroperitoneal hematoma increases when a person has bleeding abnormalities or preexisting issues that effect the makeup of the adrenal glands, kidneys and pancreas.
6. Traumatic factors
Traumatic cases of retroperitoneal hematoma happen commonly as a result of complications from pelvic and abdominal trauma resulting from injuries.
It could happen with car accidents, physical altercations and household mishaps, such as falling down the stairs.
The mortality rate reported by various medical studies on these cases is as high as 60%.
7. Medicinal factors
Medications with anticoagulant properties have also contributed to the development of retroperitoneal hematoma.
8. Retroperitoneal hematoma treatment
The treatment for this type of hematoma include invasive operation procedures as well as a particular type of nonsurgical treatment called angiographic embolization, where access to the bleeding artery is provided to the physician by guide-wires and catheters.
Once doctors have access to the site, the bleeding is stopped using coils, particles, foam, plugs or beads.
With the popularity of non-invasive medical procedures, full surgery is becoming less and less common in the treatment of retroperitoneal hematoma.
In fact, the advice given to physicians when dealing with this type of problem is focused on diagnosis and conservative treatment as much as possible.
9. Length of recovery
The length of recovery time depends on the type of treatment, but most patients are out of the hospital at most, about two weeks. But some, within just a few days.
10. Long-term consequences
Most people are able to recover from this type of hematoma with no long-term consequences or side-effects.
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