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Blunt Abdominal Injury

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Dec 2, 2022.

What is a blunt abdominal injury?

A blunt abdominal injury is a direct blow to the abdomen without an open wound. Organs such as your pancreas, liver, spleen, or bladder may be injured. Your intestines may also be injured. These injuries may cause internal bleeding.

What are the signs and symptoms of a blunt abdominal injury?

  • Abdominal pain, redness, and swelling
  • Bruises or scratches on the abdomen

How is a blunt abdominal injury diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will ask questions about your injury. He or she will feel and press on your abdomen. You may need blood tests and an ultrasound of your abdomen. Based on the results of the blood tests and ultrasound, you may need other tests. An example is a CT scan. The CT scan will show if you have damage to your organs or bleeding in your abdomen. It can also show any fractures in your lower ribs and pelvis. You may be given contrast liquid to help the pictures show up better. Tell healthcare providers if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid.

How is a blunt abdominal injury treated?

Your healthcare provider will watch you closely to see if your injury is mild and your condition is stable. A blunt abdominal injury is treated depending on how severe your injury is. Mild injuries, such as bruising and soreness, will be monitored for a short time. You may be given medicine to decrease swelling and pain. Symptoms of severe injuries may not appear for up to 8 hours. Severe injuries, such as damage to organs, blood vessels, and bones, may need surgery.

How can I manage my symptoms?

  • Apply ice to decrease swelling and pain. Ice may also help prevent tissue damage. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel before you apply it to your skin. Place it on your injured area for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed.
  • Limit activity as directed to decrease pain, swelling, and prevent other injuries. Do not exercise or play sports until your healthcare provider says it is okay.

Call 911 for any of the following:

  • You feel weak, lightheaded, or you faint.
  • You have a fast heartbeat, fast breathing, and pale, sweaty skin.
  • You have new or severe pain, swelling, or firmness in your abdomen.

When should I seek immediate care?

  • You have nausea and are vomiting.
  • You have blood in your urine or bowel movement.
  • You have new or severe pain in your back.
  • You have trouble urinating or having a bowel movement.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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