What are deep bruises?

Deep bruises are bruises that are found below the superficial layers of skin in a patient. Most bruises are subcutaneous, located just under the skin, and although they may be associated with mild pain and swelling, they usually resolve on their own without complications. In the case of deep hematomas, the hematoma is in the underlying muscle or bone, and can be accompanied by serious medical risks, such as internal bleeding and organ damage. Deep bruises also take longer to heal and are much more painful than subcutaneous bruises.

Bruises at all levels are usually caused by trauma. Also, people can develop bruises as a result of drug reactions or bleeding disorders. In the case of deep or superficial bruises, people will experience tenderness at the bruise site and there may be some discoloration or swelling. Deep bruising can sometimes be a clinical sign in a patient who has not suffered physical trauma and may indicate the presence of leukemia or another blood disorder.

Intramuscular and periosteal bruises are both forms of deep hematomas. One risk with this type of bruise is that trauma severe enough to cause damage at that depth can also severely damage bones and organs. People can have broken bones and other injuries, and could develop internal bleeding caused by the rupture of blood vessels larger than those involved in bruising. Patients with deep hematomas should be carefully evaluated for signs of additional medical problems.

A deep bruise can be extremely painful. Contact with the bruise can cause sharp pain and patients may also experience pain if they try to move the affected area of ​​the body. Resting and elevating the region while freezing to reduce swelling can help with deep bruising. Immobilization with a cast or sling may also be used in the early stages of treatment to help the patient avoid pain and tenderness associated with movement.

In some cases, the bruise will resolve on its own after weeks or months. However, if the pain persists or worsens, it may be a sign that something else is going on and the patient needs additional treatment. The treatment will not cure the bruise, but you must address the related problem so that the bruise can eventually heal. Patients with a history of deep bruising may want to keep this in mind when meeting with a surgeon, as previously injured areas may be scarred or discolored and it is helpful for surgeons to know about old injuries in advance.

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