Southern Illinois University


Nerve & Muscle Tissue


Ecchymosis ("bruising") is discoloration which results from bleeding beneath the surface.  Ecchymosis from a well-defined source can reveal pathways for fluid movement through loose connective tissue.

Producing a "black eye" does not require a severe blow to the face.  The "shiner" shown above developed after a small, shallow cut (visible here near the end of the patient's eyebrow) allowed blood to spill into the very loose connective tissue of the patient's upper and lower eyelids.  Absence of ecchymosis at the edge of the eyelid, adjacent to the white of the eye, reveals the position of dense connective tissue of the tarsal plates.)

Forearm bruising below developed after catheterization of the patient's radial artery for coronary angiography.  Although the original injury was quite small, some blood did escape during insertion of the catheter.  (There is a tiny mark at the site of insertion, located near the end of an old scar that has been rendered quite conspicuous by the bruising.  The pale color of the scar itself reflects its composition as fairly dense collagen, which could not be penetrated by the ecchymosis.) 

Comments and questions:

SIUC / School of Medicine / Anatomy / David King
Last updated:  27 July 2023 / dgk