Identifying and Treating a Pelvic Hematoma
What is a Hematoma and How Does it Affect Pelvic Bone Fractures
A hematoma is defined as a collection of blood outside of the blood vessels. It occurs because the wall of the blood vessel has been damaged and blood has leaked into the surrounding tissue. Over time the blood will harden into a clot which forms a lump, or hematoma, which will then need to be removed if it is large enough. (If it is small the body normally reabsorbs it.) If the body cannot repair the blood vessel wall where the damage has happened, especially if it is in a high pressure area like a major artery, then the blood will continue to leak into the tissue making the hematoma even bigger and surgery even more likely.
Blood that is trapped in the body's tissue can become very irritating and can cause inflammation, pain, swelling, heat and redness. When it comes to pelvic injury we must be very careful, as there is a major artery right next to the hip joint. If that is severed, there is a high mortality rate. The video below explains how dangerous this can be.
My Own Experience
I was in a pretty bad vehicle collision and as a result I suffered from a hair line fracture in my pelvis (among other injuries to my head and limbs) and went on to develop a hematoma that needed to be drained. In my case I have a genetic blood disorder called Factor V (5) Leiden, which interferes which my ability to deal with clots, and I was not able to reabsorb my hematoma in an effective way.
After the hematoma was drained I went on to have rehab to gain my mobility back. I was soon back on the mend and back to my usual self.
Symptoms Of Pelvic Injury
For most major pelvic bone fractures you will certainly know that you have broken something, as there will be a great deal of pain and shock and it is normally caused by a pretty bad accident. Emergency treatment is needed with severe injuries and surgery will be necessary to reset the bone and sort out any ruptured blood vessels.
On the other end of the scale you have the hair-line fractures that can cause pain when getting up and sitting down—but other regular activities are okay. These are normally caused by falls and are mostly associated with the elderly or those with weak bone structures. It is still possible to rupture a blood vessel but there is a smaller risk of it being a major one. If a smaller blood vessel is ruptured then a hematoma can form around or near the break. If the hematoma forms around or in a joint then it will become increasingly difficult to move and surgery maybe necessary to remove the clot.
If a hematoma occurs you will experience pain along with bruising and swelling of the area. Your health care provider will give you the best advice on how to deal with your particular injury but it is generally advised that pain-killers, rest, and ice are good way to treat your injury for fractures or knocks. I would assume you would go straight to hospital for anything greater than a knock.
Pelvic Fractures With Bleeding - Everything You Need To Know - Dr. Nabil Ebraheim
Developing a hematoma in the pelvic area is not always caused by a trauma to the pelvic bone, there are a few other ways this can develop:
- Pelvic Surgery
- Long periods of rest, i.e bed bound
- Genetic blood disorders which interfere with clotting factors
- Giving birth naturally or during C section
Treating A Pelvic Hematoma
With fractures such as those seen in the video (see above) surgery is required in order to reset the bone, stop any bleeding, and help stabilize the joints and ligaments. If a vein or artery has been ruptured or severed then a blood transfusion might be necessary to help stabilize the patient whilst in surgery.
If you have a mild hair-line fracture that has been confirmed with an ultra-sound scan or x-ray then the normal course of treatment is rest, ice the area, and to take painkillers for any discomfort. Your health care provider may also give you antibiotics if there is an infection at the fracture sight.
Regardless of the size of the fracture your health care provider will be keeping a close eye on you and you should report any change in your condition whilst you are healing. Remember, you're injured so take it easy!
Most injuries can be prevented by following all of the safety components of your normal activities. Of course, if you are in an accident that is not your fault then this cannot be prevented, which is why it is important to treat your body with care on a daily basis. By eating the right food and exercising correctly on a daily basis we can help the body to heal quicker when it is injured.
Some easy tips to follow when you are healing and when you are healthy are:
- Drink at least 8 cups of water a day
- Eat your 5 a day
- Get plenty of fiber
- Keep an eye on your salt intake
- Eat healthy fats
- Reduce your sugar intake
Also, when your mobility allows for it make sure that you get at least 30 minutes of activity per day to keep your muscles limber and your heart and lungs functioning in top notch order.
Have you ever fractured a bone and got a hematoma (contusion) as well?
You may have some extensive visible bruising on your hips, legs or pelvic area, especially if the hematoma leaks. The body normally reabsorbs the blood and any clotting, however, this can take sometime. This is where arnica montana can help, which I was recommended as an addition to my rehabilitation program.
Arnica is brilliant at reducing bruising and speeding up the healing process. The herb arnica has anti-inflammatory properties as well as anti-microbial so it is great at reducing swelling and fighting off bacteria and fungus. You can take arnica in two ways, either through tablets or through a cream/gel (depends on the consistency). Arnica in gel/cream form is the best in my opinion as it also provides a soothing cooling relief from the heat that can generate from the damaged area. By combining arnica cream with painkillers, ice, rest and anything else that your doctor prescribes you are sure to make a great recovery.
This article is for informational purposes only and should not replace the advice or examination of your primary health care provider.
- A difficult few weeks, haematoma after hysterectomy - Caroline's Story
- Hematoma Symptoms, Treatment, Causes - What causes a hematoma? - MedicineNet
- Pelvic Hematomas: Types and Management (pp. 143-170)
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Questions & Answers
© 2012 Bobby