Wound Hematoma Evacuation: Care Instructions

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A wound hematoma happens when blood collects and pools under the skin. It can look like a really bad bruise. It may be caused by an injury or as a result of a medical procedure or surgery. All that blood can cause pressure to build up in the area. Sometimes it can damage the skin around it. To prevent this, your doctor may evacuate, or drain, the pooled blood.

The doctor cleans the skin. Then a needle may be used to drain the blood. Or the doctor may open up the wound with a cut in the skin to remove the clotted blood and stop any bleeding.

If there's a cut, it may be closed and wrapped in a tight bandage. But sometimes the doctor may leave the wound open to let it heal on its own. Your doctor will tell you how to care for it. You may get antibiotics to help prevent infection.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • If you get medicines, take them as instructed. Tell your doctor if you're having problems with medicines.

  • If you have a bandage, keep it clean and dry. Change the bandage whenever it gets wet or dirty, or at least 1 time a day.

  • Keep the cut dry for the first 24 to 48 hours. After this, you can shower if your doctor okays it. Pat the area dry.

  • Avoid using an antibiotic ointment unless your doctor recommends it. And don't use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol. They can slow healing.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You are bleeding through your bandage. A small amount of blood is normal.
  • The hematoma seems to be forming again.
  • You have signs of 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 if:

  • You do not get better as expected.

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 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.

The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.