Managing a post-operative hematoma

A post-operative hematoma is an accumulation of blood in the tissues following a surgical procedure. It usually results from a vascular injury that was not properly controlled during surgery. Hematomas can vary in size and severity, with some being more painful than others. They can also cause inflammation and swelling around the affected area.

These hematomas are common complications after surgery. Let’s explore together how cold can be used to reduce the pain and inflammation associated with these hematomas.

Causes of postoperative hematoma

There are several possible causes for the formation of a hematoma after surgery:

  • Damage to a blood vessel : During surgery, blood vessels may be damaged, causing blood to leak into surrounding tissues.
  • Clotting problems : Some people have clotting problems that make their blood more likely to form clots or bruises.
  • Anticoagulant medications : Medications that thin the blood, such as aspirin, can increase the risk of postoperative hematoma formation.

Symptoms of postoperative hematoma

The symptoms of a hematoma vary depending on its size, location, and severity of the condition. Common signs include:

  • Pain : pain is generally the first symptom felt by people with a post-operative hematoma. It can be mild or severe, depending on the size of the hematoma and its location.
  • Swelling : Swelling is often present around the area where the hematoma is located.
  • Redness : The skin around the hematoma may become reddish as blood accumulates in the area.
  • Heat : The affected area may also feel warm to the touch, due to inflammation caused by the hematoma.

Potential complications

In some cases, a post-operative hematoma can cause additional complications, such as:

  • Nerve compression, which can lead to loss of sensation or even a paralysis temporary.
  • Infection, if bacteria enters the hematoma and causes inflammation.
  • Tissue necrosis, that is to say the death of surrounding cells due to the pressure exerted by the hematoma.

Prevent the appearance of a hematoma

Although it is not always possible to prevent a hematoma from forming after surgery, there are some steps you can take to reduce your risk:

  • Talk to your doctor about your medical history, including any clotting problems or medications you are taking that could increase your risk.
  • Carefully follow the post-operative instructions provided by your doctor, particularly regarding wound care and resuming your normal activities.
  • Avoid lifting heavy objects or exerting too much effort in the days following your procedure, as this could cause pressure on the operated area and encourage the formation of a hematoma.

A post-operative hematoma can cause pain, swelling and potentially additional complications. It is essential to know the causes, symptoms and treatment options for this condition to minimize the risk of complications and ensure a quick and complete recovery.

Relieve the pain of cold inflammation

Cold therapy, also known as cryotherapy, is a non-invasive, non-drug method used to reduce pain and theinflammation under various conditions. It was particularly effective for painful post-operative hematomas. Here are some of the main reasons why cold weather can be beneficial:

Vasoconstriction and reduction of bleeding

The cold causes vasoconstriction, or narrowing of the blood vessels, which can help reduce continued bleeding in the area of ​​the hematoma. This may allow the body to begin to absorb and heal the hematoma more quickly.

Decreased inflammation and swelling

The cold also helps reduce inflammation and swelling around the hematoma by restricting blood flow to the affected area. This can help reduce pressure on surrounding tissues and reduce the pain felt by the patient.

Local analgesia

Cold has a local anesthetic effect, which can help relieve pain directly at the source. By applying cold to the affected area, the nerves transmitting pain are slowed down, which helps reduce the sensation of pain.

Applying cold to treat a hematoma

There are several possibilities for applying cold to effectively treat a post-operative hematoma:

Cooling gel packs

Cooling gel packs are a convenient and portable option for applying cold to the affected area. They can be stored in the freezer and used when needed. Above all, do not put the gel pack directly on the skin to avoid frostbite. Instead, use a towel or tissue between the skin and the gel pack.

Derivative baths

A diversion bath is a sitz bath with cold water, in which the part of the body affected by the hematoma is soaked for 15 to 20 minutes. This method can be particularly useful for hematomas located on the lower extremities.

Ice compresses

An ice compress can be made by wrapping ice cubes in cloth. Then apply the compress to the affected area for 10 to 15 minutes, taking care to regularly check the color and temperature of the skin.

Other treatments for post-operative hematoma

Treatment for a post-operative hematoma depends on the size, location and symptoms experienced. Common treatment options include:

Pain medications

Over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen, may be used to relieve pain associated with a post-operative hematoma.


An elastic bandage or compression garment can be used to put pressure on the affected area, helping to reduce swelling and pain.


Raising the affected area above the level of the heart can help reduce swelling by promoting venous return.

Hematoma drainage

In some cases, it may be necessary to drain the hematoma by suction using a needle and syringe. This procedure should be carried out by a healthcare professional.


If the hematoma is large or causes serious complications, surgery may be necessary to remove it.