Difference Between Ecchymosis and Contusion

Contusion and ecchymosis are medical terminologies with comparable meanings. That explains why they are frequently used interchangeably.  This article will help you grasp the differences between contusion and ecchymosis.

The similarities between contusion and ecchymosis originate from the fact that both involve bleeding beneath the skin. However, there are some significant distinctions between these words. Continue reading to learn about their meanings, differences, and applications in diverse circumstances.

Ecchymosis vs Contusion

Ecchymosis is defined as a flat, blue or purple patch 1 centimeter (cm) or larger in diameter. The terms purpura and bruise are frequently used interchangeably. Ecchymosis occurs when blood seeps from a damaged capillary into the skin’s surrounding tissue. This results in discoloration. The area of ecchymosis may transform from purple or blackish blue to yellow or green as the tissue recovers. Ecchymosis usually takes between 1 and 3 weeks to heal.

On the other hand, contusion a contusion is a bruised-looking area caused by an injury to the blood vessels beneath the skin. A contusion is a wound or bruise in which the skin is not broken but has become discolored due to ruptured blood vessels beneath it.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonEcchymosis Contusion
Definitiona huge purple area caused by blood spilling from ruptured blood vesselsa small bruised area is seen on the skin
Causesinjury from bumping yourself car accident, sports activities
Symptomspurple skin areaa skin area that looks bruised
Diagnosisa purple patch of skina skin area that looks bruised and available symptoms such as chest pain
Treatmentcold packs placed on the injured areaice packs can be used and in case of lung contusion oxygen therapy is needed

What is Ecchymosis?

Ecchymosis is a large bruised area (1 cm or more) in which blood from wounded arteries has migrated into the skin layers. Ecchymosis is caused by blood seeping from blood vessels into the subcutaneous tissue beneath the skin.

The most common cause is trauma (e.g., a blunt force to the skin resulting in capillary rupture), and it can affect any part of the body. Ecchymosis of the eyes, also known as periorbital ecchymosis or raccoon eyes, is caused by a contusion or forceful injury to the head, resulting in a skull fracture.

Ecchymosis can be caused by a trauma in which blood accumulates beneath the skin or by a medical condition influencing blood coagulation. Ecchymosis is more likely to arise if you have a disease like hemophilia or blood malignancy. The patient’s medical history, as well as the medications they are taking and the appearance of their skin, can help the doctor diagnose ecchymosis. The existence of a huge bruised area on the skin is the symptom. 

Ecchymosis also refers to the leakage of blood into the subcutaneous tissue from a damaged vessel. The discoloration from ecchymosis will diminish after you lay an ice pack on the affected area.

The treatment is determined by the cause of the person’s recurring ecchymosis. If medication does not help, a doctor may recommend a another type of medication. Ecchymosis can be treated using ice packs.

What is Contusion?

A contusion is bruising that does not have an obvious wound or skin opening. A contusion can occur as a result of an accident or when participating in sports. It is frequently the result of a direct blow to the body. Contusions can occur on the skin as well as in organs such as the lungs or muscles. Athletes are more likely to sustain a concussion.

Contusions may appear as a bruised spot on the skin. Internal contusions, such as pulmonary (lung) contusions, must be diagnosed with ultrasound or CT scans. Skin contusions can be painful, while lung contusions can produce symptoms such as trouble breathing (dyspnea) and chest pain.

A contusion, for example, can develop on the skin or on vital organs such as the muscles and lungs. Chest pain and breathing difficulties are possible indications of lung contusion. As a result, someone may experience internal or external contusion.

The treatment is determined by the etiology and location of the contusion. A lung contusion necessitates supportive care, which may include oxygen therapy. Contusions, especially those to the lungs, heal on their own over time. Contusions from arm and leg injuries can be treated with ice packs many times each day to minimize swelling and pain. 

Main Differences Between Ecchymosis and Contusion


  1. Ecchymosis develops when blood from a damaged artery enters the skin layer.
  2. Ecchymosis frequently affects a broad area of skin (usually over 1 cm). Typically, the affected area is purple and flat.
  3. The treatment for ecchymosis is determined by the cause.
  4. Ice packs can also be used to treat ecchymosis induced by an accident.
  5. A bruise is a skin discoloration caused by bleeding beneath the skin.


  1. A contusion can develop on the skin or on internal organs such as the muscles and lungs.
  2. Contusion symptoms vary based on where it happens.
  3. The therapy for a contusion varies based on the location.
  4. Contusions are mainly caused by an accident or a direct hit to the body.
  5. The act or process of pounding, bruising, or beating; the condition of being pounded or bruised.


The definition of these words ties them together. For example, both medical diseases produce skin pigmentation. Depending on the situation, the discoloration is frequently blue, black, or purple. Another similarity is that both illnesses are caused by leaking blood vessels beneath the skin. 

Ecchymosis occurs when blood seeps into the skin tissues, whereas contusion might occur as a result of ruptured blood vessels. The most crucial link is that ecchymosis can arise as a result of a contusion. Broken blood vessels beneath the skin, for example, generate contusions, and when the blood from the contusion seeps into the skin matter, it causes ecchymosis.

Skin discoloration is a symptom of the medical illnesses “contusion” and “ecchymosis.” You can now understand them properly as now you know their meanings, correlations, and distinctions.

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