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"What is abdominal trauma?"


My boyfriend was in a work accident, and he was hospitalized. He's going to be okay, but the doctor has repeatedly said he had ""abdominal trauma"" as if this is a special thing. What is abdominal trauma? What does that have to with his treatment and recovery?


Abdominal trauma is a serious condition. Your boyfriend requires close follow up with his doctor to ensure there is no lasting complications. Abdominal trauma is a general term--which refers to trauma to the abdominal region.

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In of itself, it is not a specific diagnosis. However, it is serious. There are many vital organs in the abdomen (the stomach, pancreas, liver, spleen, kidneys, intestines, vascular structures, bones) that can be damaged. As such, when someone has "abdominal trauma" we are concerned of internal damage. That means we often need to look for damage both after the event and then continuously afterwards for the first few weeks. For example, rupture of the spleen is a problem in serious trauma that requires surgical treatment. After investigation (often by exam, ultrasound and maybe even a CAT scan), if there is no specific problem then we ofter classify someone as having simply "abdominal trauma." This is a way that doctors tell one another that we must be on alert for late presenting problems like pancreatic contusions. Of note, like any part of the body, there are muscles that can be injured. These, like any place, require time to heal. Treatment of abdominal trauma depends on if there is internal damage. If not, the muscles/bruise will still take 2-3 weeks.

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