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Bruising or Discoloration After a Facial Injury

Bruises are caused by small torn blood vessels under the skin and may occur after a bump or a fall. Blood seeps into tissues, turning them reddish, then black and blue. Most bruises go away within 2 to 3 weeks, after turning yellow, green, and brown. Home treatment may speed healing.

Bruising or discoloration can be more serious when it:

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  • Develops within 30 minutes of the injury. This can occur with a severe bruise (contusion), dislocated jaw, broken facial bone, or broken lower jawbone (mandible).
  • Occurs on the cheek or on the floor of the mouth. This can be a sign of a broken jaw.
  • Occurs behind an ear ("Battle's sign") or around both eyes ("raccoon eyes"). If bruising occurs in these areas and is not caused by direct injury to both eyes or the forehead or behind an ear, it can be a symptom of a skull fracture-especially if a head injury was also present-a broken cheekbone (zygomatic fracture), or a broken nose.
  • Occurs in people who have conditions or who take medicines that interfere with blood clotting, such as aspirin, warfarin (such as Coumadin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), or clopidogrel (Plavix). There is an increased chance of bleeding into injured joints or bones.
By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer David Messenger, MD
Last Revised April 15, 2011

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: April 15, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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