Bruised Spleen (Contusion)

A bruised spleen (or spleen contusion) is bruising to the spleen which occurs after a direct impact to the upper left abdomen. It may occur after a fall or a car accident. It is not as severe an injury as a spleen laceration (or rupture).

Symptoms of a Bruised Spleen

  • Instant pain on impact.
  • Pain is located in the left side of the abdomen.
  • Pain may also be referred to the left shoulder or arm.
  • Nausea.
  • Tenderness in the area.
  • Watch out for more severe symptoms such as changes in blood pressure, heart rate, confusion and loss of consciousness which indicate a more serious injury.

Treatment

  • Seek medical attention immediately.
  • A doctor will carry out an examination and may require further investigations such as ultrasound or CT scans to determine the extent of the injury and if there is any internal bleeding (see ruptured spleen).
  • Most spleen contusions will heal successfully on their own, provided there are no other complications.
  • Rest and observation should be undertaken and a hospital stay is usually advised so you can be closely monitored.
  • Bleeding from the spleen may not be picked up initially so further tests are usually carried out after a day or two to confirm that it is just a contusion.
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