A septal hematoma is a collection of blood in the septum, or space between the two nostrils in the nose. A hematoma is similar to a bruise or blood clot but, without treatment, it can damage the tissue and lead to infection.
An injury to the nose can rupture blood vessels in and around the septum where there is both bone and cartilage. As the blood clots to stop the bleeding, it forms a hematoma.
Hematomas in most other areas of the body are usually reabsorbed over time, much as happens to a bruise. Septal hematomas, however, tend not to heal on their own and need to be drained promptly in most cases.
Fast facts on septal hematoma:
- If left untreated, a septal hematoma can cause serious complications.
- A septal hematoma almost always follows an injury to the nose.
- No specific action can prevent a septal hematoma following a nose injury.
- In most cases, a septal hematoma must be drained.
The tissue of the septum can be severely damaged, causing the nose to become painful and deformed.
If this happens, and a hematoma blocks blood flow to the septum, it may lead to tissue necrosis or the death of the septum tissue.
Rarely, and particularly if accompanied by a broken nose, a septal hematoma can cause a severe and potentially life-threatening infection.