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Ecchymosis – Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Pictures

What is Ecchymosis?

Eccyhmosis is characterized by a reddish or bluish discoloration of the skin that is often non-raised and spontaneously caused by a medical condition. The onset of reddish or bluish discoloration of the skin is due to the escape of blood from ruptured blood vessels into the capillaries. It is a subcutaneous purpura with a diameter of 1cm or more and is different from a bruise.

Ecchymosis is a degree of hematoma that is larger than 10mm or more than 1cm in diameter. It is an extravasation of blood in the thin layer of the skin that resulted from a rupture within the blood vessel causing the blood to leak into the layer of the skin. It is sometimes mistaken or erroneously identified as a bruise but the two are entirely different in terms of the etiology. The bruise is a blood leaking into the thin layer of the skin as a result of trauma while ecchymosis occurred spontaneously as a consequence of an underlying medical condition.

Purpura is a purplish colored patch of the skin as a result of blood leaking into the capillaries and the large degree or size of which is known as ecchymosis while the small size is known as petichiae. Purpura involves the platelets thus with ecchymosis. The condition of purpura and ecchymosis may neither have a normal or low platelet count. The platelets are the smallest of the blood types and are a disc shaped cell of clear fragments and does not have a nucleus. Platelets are not true cells but are fragments of blood cells that are generally light and are usually pushed on the walls of the blood vessels where it serve its function.

Ecchymosis Symptoms

Ecchymosis and hematoma are both the consequence of blood leaking into the thin layer of the skin as a result of damage to the blood vessels. The difference however is in not only in the appearance but also in the location of its occurrence. Ecchymosis occurs in the thin layer of the skin and in the mucus membrane while hematoma can occur not only under the skin but also in the different organs of the body and in the mucous membrane as well. Ecchymosis also has a flat character while hematoma has a three dimensional character.

Ecchymosis does not have numerous symptoms to exhibit although the symptoms that may occur if ever may be associated with the existing condition that influenced the development of ecchymosis. The general symptoms of ecchymosis on the other hand include the following:

  • Onset of skin discoloration that is reddish or purplish.
  • Purplish or reddish skin patch that has a diameter of an inch or more.
  • Perception of pain on the affected site although pain may not always be present in some patients.
  • Inflammation of the unaffected skin surrounding the site of ecchymosis depending on the degree of damage in the tissue.
  • Ecchymosis may also extend to surrounding areas from the original site depending on the location and the severity of ecchymosis.

Ecchymosis Causes

Ecchymosis is not a condition or a disorder and is generally harmless. It is however, a symptom of one or more serious underlying medical condition that needs medical attention and intervention. The onset of ecchymosis can be a mild inflammatory response of the body or can be a more complex medical condition.

Ecchymosis is generally the result of blunt trauma that caused the blood vessels to rupture and seep into the thin layer of the skin or in the mucus membrane in the absence of an incision or any break in the skin to allow the blood to go out of the skin surface. The accumulation of blood within the skin layers causes the reddish or purplish discoloration of the skin.

Ecchymosis is not just an inflammatory response of the body but is also the result of some underlying medical condition that causes rupture of the capillaries. Such medical conditions resulting to ecchymosis includes the following:


Leukemia is a malignancy of the blood cells including the tissue that produces blood. Easy bruising and bleeding are among the symptoms of leukemia including that of ecchymosis. The increase in the levels of white blood cells influences the development of ecchymosis.

Acute renal failure

This is the rapid loss of the function of the kidney. The inability of the kidney to perform its function of expelling waste from the body leads to the progression of waste product in the blood. Ecchymosis is among the potential result of waste accumulation within the blood as a consequence of abnormalities that resulted from the degeneration of the kidney.

Multiple myeloma

Multiple myeloma is the cancer of plasma cells in the body. This plasma cell is a type of white blood cells that are normally found in the bone marrow. The abnormal growth of plasma cell in the bone marrow as the character of the disease progresses to an aberration in the blood thus causing ecchymosis.

Liver cirrhosis

Liver cirrhosis is characterized by an abnormal function and structure of the liver as a consequence of the complication of various liver diseases. Ecchymosis is among the result of any alteration in the blood composition as a consequence of impairment of in the normal function of the liver.

Myelofibrosis is the formation of fibrosis in the bone marrow tissue. The development of fibrosis results to a disruption in the normal production of blood cells of the body.


Ecchymosis usually resolves without treatment and can be managed at home. The frequent onset of ecchymosis associated with severe pain on the other hand requires medical attention. Other treatment or ecchymosis depends on the existing underlying condition that influenced the onset.

Treatment of ecchymosis includes the following:

  • Rest promotes tissue healing that enough rest is recommended to hasten the tissue repair and healing of ecchymosis.
  • Ice application facilitates vasoconstriction of the ruptured blood vessels which in turn prevents ecchymosis from extending to the nearby unaffected site.
  • Elevation of the affected site can help in inhibiting inflammation as the elevation facilitates a proper venous return while improving the circulation of the affected site.
  • Pain relievers such as ibuprofen and other form of analgesics can help reduce the pain associated with the onset of ecchymosis.

A light massage and stretching exercises can help improve tissue repair as long as the activities do not exacerbate the condition of ecchymosis causing further damage to the tissue and the blood vessels.

Ecchymosis Pictures

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Ecchymosis – Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Pictures
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