Internal Injuries from Motorcycle Accidents
If you are involved in a motorcycle accident where you are thrown off your bike or have it land on you, you risk having sustained internal injuries. A penetrating injury, such as being speared by an object, can certainly cause internal bleeding and damage to organs but blunt trauma can as well.
Internal bleeding can occur inside your head, legs, blood vessels, lungs, liver, pancreas, and spleen. Symptoms alerting you to the possibility that you are experiencing internal bleeding include:
- Abdominal pain that does not dissipate or worsens
- Low blood pressure leading to dizziness and loss of balance or fainting
- Severe headaches
- Pain, swelling and tightness in lower extremities
- Blood in urine or feces
- Nausea and vomiting blood
- Large purplish bruises caused by blood seeping into the soft tissues
Internal injuries may include tears in the aorta, superior or inferior vena cava of the heart. Cuts can also appear in your spleen or liver.
Internal bleeding causes pressure on the organs and tissues as well as damaging those organs that have been affected. If your blood pressure drops to an unsafe level, then a blood transfusion is necessary and/or intravenous fluids.
Doctors can diagnose and pinpoint internal bleeding through diagnostic tests such as an ultrasound or CT scan. In many cases, internal bleeding produced by blunt trauma will stop by itself. If symptoms are not abating or worsen, then surgery is usually advised. If the bleeding is severe, immediate surgery is necessary to save your life.
There are different types of surgery that physicians will use to identify and seal or stop the bleeding:
- Laparotomy – the surgeon makes an incision in the abdomen to investigate bleeding. If found, the surgeon can use a heat probe or suture to stop the bleeding.
- Thoracotomy – to access the lung or heart, the surgeon makes an incision along the breastplate or rib cage.
- Craniotomy – for bleeding in the head, the doctor makes a hole in the skull to relieve the intense pressure.
- Fasciotomy – if bleeding is suspected in the thigh, a deep incision is made there to relieve pressure and stop the blood. Bleeding here can prevent blood from flowing to the leg that can cause gangrene or death of tissue.
In some cases, internal bleeding may not be readily apparent. It is highly advised that you allow yourself to be medically examined and to be forthright about all your symptoms following a motorcycle accident where you were thrown to the ground or otherwise experienced physical trauma.