A hematoma is a collection of blood in an area of your body. The most common type is a bruise, but both small and large hematomas can develop in many parts of the body. Intracranial hematomas are those in the brain or between the brain and the skull. Acute hematomas happen quickly, while chronic hematomas develop over time.
There are three main types of intracranial hematomas, named for their locations:
- Subdural hematoma is blood between the brain and the surface lining of the brain. They are most often due to trauma.
- Epidural hematoma is blood between the skull, the dura mater (outer layer), and the meninges (tissue that covers the brain).
- Intracerebral hematoma is blood within the brain, which occurs in a hemorrhagic stroke.
Some intracranial hematomas cause serious, irreversible brain damage or even death.
If you’re searching for expert care and treatment for intracranial hematomas in Las Vegas or Henderson, NV, you can depend on the neurology and stroke experts at Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican hospitals. Find a Doctor or call (702) 616-4900 to learn more about our three Joint Commission Certified Primary Stroke Centers.
Common Symptoms of Hematoma
Symptoms of acute intracranial hematoma appear suddenly, but they develop more slowly with chronic hematomas. Symptoms will depend on where in the brain it has formed. Some of the more common signs and symptoms include:
- Difficulty with speech
- Visual disturbances
- Difficulty with balance or walking
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of consciousness
Call 911 if you or someone you’re with has signs of an intracranial hematoma. Immediate medical attention is the best way to find the underlying cause and receive effective treatment.
Causes of Hematomas
Acute intracranial hematomas are usually caused by trauma to the head, including falling and hitting your head or a direct blow to the head. Chronic hematomas may be caused by:
- Alcohol abuse
- Poorly clotting blood
- Anticoagulant medications (blood thinners)
- Frequent falls
Treat Your Hematoma at Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican Hospitals
The treatment plan for a patient with an intracranial hematoma will depend on several factors, including how large it is, where it is, and if it may cause harm. A small hematoma may go away on its own as the blood is absorbed by the body, but a larger or more serious epidural hematoma requires treatment so it does not cause permanent brain damage or death. Treatment will include finding and stopping the source of bleeding through surgery or with medications.
- Surgery: The hematoma puts a dangerous amount of pressure on the brain. A hole drilled into the skull relieves the pressure.
- Medications: Corticosteroids may help reduce swelling and pressure in the brain.
While not all intracranial hematomas can be prevented, you should take precautions when head injuries are possible. Wear a helmet during sports, biking, and other activities. Young children and older adults are at a higher risk for brain injuries.
Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican provides diagnostic and treatment services for patients with hematomas in Las Vegas and Henderson, NV.