An ecchymosis is a subcutaneous spot of bleeding with diameter larger than 1 centimetre (0.39 in). It is similar to (and sometimes indistinguishable from) a hematoma, commonly called a bruise, though the terms are not interchangeable in careful usage. Specifically, bruises are caused by trauma whereas ecchymoses, which are the same as the spots of purpura except larger, are not necessarily caused by trauma, often being caused by pathophysiologic cell function, and some diseases such as Marburg virus disease.
|Bilateral periorbital ecchymosis, also known as "raccoon eyes". (Bruising around the eyes on both sides.)|
A broader definition of ecchymosis is the escape of blood into the tissues from ruptured blood vessels. The term also applies to the subcutaneous discoloration resulting from seepage of blood within the contused tissue.
Signs and symptomsEdit
Hematomas can be subdivided by size. By definition, ecchymoses are 1 centimetres in size or larger, and are therefore larger than petechiae (less than 3 millimetres in diameter) or purpura (3 to 10 millimetres in diameter). Ecchymoses also have a more diffuse border than other purpura.
There are many causes of subcutaneous hematomas including ecchymoses. Coagulopathies such as Hemophilia A may cause ecchymosis formation in children. The medication betamethasone can have the adverse effect of causing ecchymosis.
Etymology and pronunciationEdit
The word ecchymosis (//; plural ecchymoses, //), comes to English from New Latin, based on Greek ἐκχύμωσις ekchymōsis, from ἐκχυμοῦσθαι ekchymousthai "to extravasate blood", from ἐκ- ek- (elided to ἐ- e-) and χυμός chymos "juice". Compare enchyma, "tissue infused with organic juice"; elaboration from chyme, the formative juice of tissues.
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