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For the Colombian band, see Ekhymosis.
Classification and external resources
ICD-9 459.89, 782.7
MeSH D004438

An ecchymosis (/ˌɛkɨˈmsɪs/; Ancient Greek: ἐκχύμωσις, from ἐκ "out" and χέω "I pour") (noun) \e-ki-ˈmō-səs\ is a subcutaneous purpura (extravasation of blood) larger than 1 centimeter or a hematoma, commonly called a bruise, though the terms are not interchangeable.[1] Specifically, bruises are caused by trauma whereas ecchymoses, a type of purpura, are not necessarily caused by trauma.[2]

A broader definition of ecchymosis[3][4] 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.


First used in English in the 1541 translation of Galen's Terapentyke; via New Latin from Greek ekchymōsis, from ekchymousthai "to extravasate blood", from ex- and chymos "juice"; cf. enchyma, "tissue infused with organic juice"; elaboration from chyme, the formative juice of tissues.[citation needed]A broader definition of ecchyms the escape of blood into the tissues from ruptured blood vessels.


There are many causes of subcutaneous hematomas including ecchymoses. Coagulopathies such as Hemophilia A may cause ecchymosis formation in children.[5]


Hematomas can be subdivided by size. By definition, ecchymoses are 1 centimeter in size or larger, and are therefore larger than petechiae ( less than 2 millimeters in diameter) or purpura (2 millimeters to 1 centimeter in diameter).[6] Ecchymoses also have a more diffuse border than other purpura.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "UCSF Purpura Module". 
  2. ^ "Easy Bruising Symptoms". 
  3. ^ Merriam-Webster Dictionary.; accessed 1/2/2012
  4. ^ Gould, George M. "The Practitioner's Medical Dictionary," P. Blakiston's Son & Co., 1916 et seq.; p. 311
  5. ^ Lee, AC (June 2008). "Bruises, blood coagulation tests and the battered child syndrome". Singapore Medical Journal 49 (6): 445–449. PMID 18581014. 
  6. ^ Leung, AKC; Chan, KW (August 2001). "Evaluating the Child with Purpura". American Family Physician 64 (3): 419–429. 
  7. ^ "Case Based Pediatrics Chapter". Retrieved 2009-01-08.