The liver is one of the most important and vital organs of your body that serves a variety of functions. Without the liver, your body will become unable to perform digestion, and toxins will not be removed from your body. Moreover, the liver is the largest internal organ of the human body located on the right upper side of the abdominal area of the body, lodged between the diaphragm and rib cage. Any injury to the liver like a liver punch, or liver blow can cause a variety of disruptions in the body.
The effects of getting punched in the liver range from mild to life-threatening depending on the severity of the blow to the liver. Similarly, the liver punch recovery is also contingent on the severity of the liver punch ranging from days to weeks. To know what happens if you get hit in the liver, keep reading ahead.
What Are The Functions Of The Liver?
Before diving into the effects of getting punched in the liver, one must know and understand the importance and significance of the functions performed by the liver and the reason why it is considered one of the most vital organs of the human body. Find listed below, some of the major functions of the human body which are facilitated and taken care of by the liver:
- The liver helps in the digestion of the food we consume. It products bile, a digestive juice that breaks down fats in the small intestine and carries away waste materials to the large intestine during the process of digestion.
- It washes away toxic materials from the body by clearing the blood of unwanted drugs and other substances which are poisonous in nature. The skin and eyes may turn yellow and there can be other manifestations in the body lest the toxins aren’t removed from the body.
- It regulates blood clotting, as well as the immunity response of the body.
- It helps the body in conserving and producing energy by playing an important role in the conversion of glucose to glycogen.
- It plays an active role in the enzyme activation process of the body that helps in catalyzing various metabolic functions of the body.
Now that we have thoroughly understood the functions of the liver, it makes us realize how important it is for us to keep the liver safe. However, through unfortunate situations, the liver may get injured. The most common types of liver punch occur due to the following reasons.
- Sports accident
- Motor vehicle accident (most commonly, car accidents)
- Punch to the stomach or side-abdomen area
- A fall
- Trauma due to stab wound or gunshot
The above-mentioned are some of the causes of the liver blow, of which sports accidents and car accidents are the most common.
Effects of Getting Punched in the Liver
As mentioned earlier the severity of the liver injury depends on the severity of the cause of the liver punch. Listed below are some of the common conditions and effects of getting punched in the liver.
Hematoma: Hematoma occurs when there is a collection of blood outside the blood vessel as a result of the injury to the wall of the blood vessels of the liver. If the hematoma takes up only ten centimeters of the liver wall and is not going deeper – then it becomes a case of mild liver injury. However, if the liver veins are injured causing heavy bleeding then it will be counted as severe liver injury.
Laceration: Laceration is basically a tear caused to the liver. It can range from shallow and no bleeding to deep and heavy bleeding. The latter case is counted as severe liver injury whereas the former is seen as mild liver injury.
Contusion: A contusion of the liver occurs when there is a liver punch. Most commonly noticed in sports injury, it can also lead to mild to severe cases. If there is a loss of blood supply to the liver it is counted as a serious, and life-threatening liver injury. Research has reported that around eighty to ninety percent of cases of liver punch fall into the mild category which is usually treatable through non-surgical procedures.
What Happens If You Get Hit in the Liver?
Though the types of liver injury mentioned give us some idea of the various types of issues that may arise out of a blow to the liver, for a common man it is important to understand the first symptoms and signs which are the answer to the question of what happens if you get hit in the liver. The following list mentions some of the commonly reported symptoms by people who suffered liver punch.
- Swelling in the stomach or abdomen area
- Dizziness or light-headedness
- Sudden low blood pressure
- Shortness of breath
- A pale appearance
- Sudden pain in the back, stomach, or upper abdomen area
- Rapid heart rate
- Nausea or vomiting
- Pain and tenderness around the belly area, and the right ribs
If you notice the above-mentioned symptoms after blunt trauma to the body, seek immediate medical attention and care. The sooner you seek attention, the sooner you can stop the probability of major blood loss or other associated injuries.
For the treatment of liver punch, the doctors may run quite a few tests from blood tests to a CT Scan, Angiogram or Ultrasound. You don’t have to worry about these tests, just trust your doctor and let them do the work. After administering the tests, the doctors will evaluate your situation to figure out the severity of the blow to the liver. In cases of minor or mild liver punch, non-surgical procedures suffice for the treatment. You will be asked to take a variety of precautions like taking rest, not engaging in much physical activity, staying away from alcohol completely.
Additionally, when on the treatment you might be asked to not take certain specific types of medication that only the liver is supposed to the breakdown in your body for absorption. In severe cases, a surgical procedure called Angioembolization is done to control bleeding and to manage liver injuries. The liver punch recovery will take a few days if it is mild, and might stretch to weeks in case of severe injuries. The liver punch recovery period is also dependent on the age of the patient.
Though liver injuries are mostly the result of accidents, a few preventions might be taken like wearing your seatbelt, wearing protective sports gear, and moderate intake of alcohol to take care of your liver like it takes care of you.
Also Read: Fatty Liver Disease