When sufficient force is applied to the surface of the body, the combination of friction or pressure and tearing of underlying blood vessels produces a bruise with an overlying abrasion. The term commonly used for this injury pattern is contusion, although some individuals use it interchangeably with bruise. Contusions as well as bruises have different appearances, depending on the pigmentation of the person's skin and the age of the injury. A bruise or contusion that is dark red or purple with well-defined margins is consistent with having been inflicted less than 48 h prior to examination. In contrast, a bruise or contusion that is yellow or brown or whose margins have begun to fade is certainly older than 48 h.
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