Cancer

Understanding Breast Hematomas



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"Understanding Breast Hematomas"
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Overview of a breast hematoma:

Hematoma is a collection of blood within the tissue planes in response to certain traumatic events in the said area. Breast is one of the most susceptible areas for formation of hematomas due to its vulnerable position as well as the vascularity of its tissue arrangement. Furthermore, the tissue planes in the breast are easily distensible and therefore a bleeding which occurs in the vicinity would be able to ooze freely and collect within one of the compartments of the breast.

The causes of breast hematoma:

When considering the causes of breast hematoma, traumatic events would fall on top of the list. These will include direct trauma in relation to accidents as well as therapeutic or breast reconstruction surgery. Apart from these, rupture of weak blood vessels in response to excessive breast movements will also be responsible for certain amount of hematoma formation.

Presentation of a breast hematoma:

In most instances, the hematoma would be rather small to be even detected at all and would disappear in its own within several days to weeks. But, when the hematoma is large, it may not only cause symptoms, it will be clearly felt clinically as well as visible through imaging studies such as ultrasound scan and mammogram.

The symptoms:

Among the symptoms that may arise after the formation of a hematoma, tenderness, skin discoloration, swelling, breeched skin in the vicinity, bruising on top of the hematoma would be common. Apart from this, if the hematoma gets infected with bacteria, it may lead to an infection and therefore towards the development of fever, redness in the region, enlargement of local lymph nodes...etc. After healing, the resulting fibrous tissues would give rise to a feeling and appearance of a breast tumor and even the diagnostic imagery would give a false impression as it may look like a spiking irregular mass as seen in certain breast cancers.

Diagnosis:

As mentioned before, diagnosis would be made through ultrasound scanning of the breast, mammogram as well as through a biopsy of the mass lesion in case the fibrous tissues would give rise to a breast cancer like appearance.

Treatment methods:

Following diagnosis, treatment would be undertaken in case of large hematomas which can take a long time to heal and in case there is a likelihood of acquiring infection. Thus, evacuation of the hematoma would be the commonest surgical procedure undertaken although such interventions are rarely needed in treating breast hematoma. During the treatment process, the doctors will advice the patient to abstain from using blood thinning agents such as aspirin, and to report any changes in its appearance, pain, development of fever…etc, in order to recognize a possible infection early.

Outcome:

Hematomas usually heals on its own and although in large hematomas there had been instances where the person suffered from recurrences in the same site as well.

More about this author: Dr Pandula Siribaddana

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