European Journal of Plastic Surgery

, Volume 35, Issue 7, pp 489–494 | Cite as

The Morel-Lavallee lesion: a review and a proposed algorithmic approach

  • Sandeep Dawre
  • Shashank Lamba
  • Sreekar H
  • Soumya Gupta
  • Ashish Kumar GuptaEmail author


Morel-Lavallee lesions (MLL) are rarely diagnosed posttraumatic sequel. They follow closed degloving injuries due to accumulation of blood and debris in the subcutaneous plane. Though they are not uncommon, they are rarely diagnosed which results in delay in their treatment. Diagnosis is through a combination of clinical examination, history, and imaging studies. MRI is the diagnostic modality of choice. Different treatments have been used for their management like compression therapy, sclerosant injection, pulse lavage, and open debridement. These treatments have met with varying success. Treatment protocols vary when managing acute and chronic MLL. The knowledge of such lesions hastens their diagnosis and treatment.


Morel-Lavallee lesion Closed degloving injury Effusion Extravasation Posttraumatic pseudocyst 


Conflict of Interest



  1. 1.
    Morel-Lavallee M (1863) Decollements traumatiques de la peau et des couches sousjacentes. Arch Gen Med 1:20–38, 172–200, 300–332Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Hak DJ, Olson SA, Matta JM (1997) Diagnosis and management of closed internal degloving injuries associated with pelvic and acetabular fractures: the Morel-Lavallee lesion. J Trauma 42:1046–1051PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Tsur A, Galin A, Kogan L, Loberant N (2006) Morel-Lavallee syndrome after crush injury. Harefuah 145(2):111–113, 166PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Tejwani SG, Cohen SB, Bradley JP (2007) Management of Morel–Lavallee lesion of the knee: twenty-seven cases in the national football league. Am J Sports Med 35(7):1162–1167, Epub 2007 Mar 9PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Mellado JM, Bencardino JT (2005) Morel–Lavallee lesion: review with emphasis on MR imaging. Magn Reson Imaging Clin N Am 13:775–782PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Hudson DA, Knottenbelt JD, Krige JE (1992) Closed degloving injuries: results following conservative surgery. Plast Reconstr Surg 89(5):853–855PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Tseng S, Tornetta P 3rd (2006) Percutaneous management of Morel-Lavallee lesions. J Bone Joint Surg Am 88:92–96PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Harma A, Inan M, Ertem K (2004) The Morel-Lavallee lesion: a conservative approach to closed degloving injuries. Acta Orthop Traumatol Turc 38:270–273PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Sterling A, Butterfield WC, Bonner R Jr et al (1997) Posttraumatic cysts of soft tissue. J Trauma 17:392–396CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Zecha PJ, Missotten FE (1999) Pseudocyst formation after abdominoplasty: extravasations of Morel-Lavallee. Br J Plast Surg 52(6):500–502PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Ozyazgan I, Eskitascglu T (2004) Development of pseudolipoma after an endoscopically confirmed closed degloving injury. Plast Reconstr Surg 114(7):1987–1989PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Parra JA, Fernandez MA, Encinas B et al (1997) Morel-Lavallée effusions in the thigh. Skeletal Radiol 26(4):239–241PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Beaulieu S, De Parades V, Manaouil D et al (2001) Retrosacral hematoma of Morel-Lavallee: a rare cause of perianal sepsis. Gastroenterol Clin Biol 25(11):1031–1032PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Gosain AK, Yan JG, Aydin MA et al (2002) The vascular supply of the extended tensor fasciae latae flap: how far can the skin paddle extend? Plast Reconstr Surg 110:1655–1661PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Collinge C, Tornetta P III (2004) Soft tissue injuries associated with pelvic fractures. Orthop Clin North Am 35(4):451–456PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Vico PG (2000) Morel-Lavallée syndrome. Eur J Plast 23(1):45–48CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Gilbert BC, Bui-Mansfield LT, Dejong S (2004) MRI of a Morel-Lavallée lesion. AJR Am J Roentgenol 182:1347–1348PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Neal C, Jacobson JA, Brandon C, Kalume-Brigido M, Morag Y, Girish G (2008) Sonography of Morel-Lavallée lesions. J Ultrasound Med 27:1077–1081PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Moriarty JM, Borrero CG, Kavanagh EC (2011) A rare cause of calf swelling: the Morel-Lavallee lesion. Ir J Med Sci 180(1):265–268, Epub 2009 Jul 18PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Kottmeier SA, Wilson SC, Born CT, Hanks GA, Iannacone WM, DeLong WG (1996) Surgical management of soft tissue lesions associated with pelvic ring injury. Clin Orthop 329:46–53PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Pitrez EH, Pellanda RC, Silva ME, Holz GG, Hertz FT, Hoefel Filho JR (2010) Morel-Lavallée lesion in the knee: a case report. Radiol Bras 43(5):336–338CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Letournel E, Judet R (1993) Fractures of the acetabulum, 2nd edn. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, GermanyCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Luta V, Enache A, Costea C (2010) Posttraumatic Morel-Lavallée seroma–clinic and forensic implications. Rom J Leg Med 18(1):31–36Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Demirel M, Dereboy F, Ozturk A, Turhan E, Yazar T (2007) Morel-Lavallee lesion, results of surgical drainage with the use of synthetic glue. Saudi Med J 28(1):65–67PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Letts RM (1986) Degloving injuries in children. J Pediatr Orthop 6:93–97Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Jovanović M, Janjić Z, Vučković N (2007) Giant post-traumatic cyst after closed degloving injury. Arch Oncol 15(1–2):42–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Haddad FJ, Younes RN, Gross JL, Deheinzelim D (2004) Pleurodesis in patients with malignant pleural effusions: talc slurry or bleomycin? Results of a prospective randomized trial. World J Surg 28:749–753PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Luria S, Applbaum Y, Weil Y, Liebergall M, Peyser A (2006) Talc sclerodhesis of persistent Morel-Lavallée lesions (posttraumatic pseudocysts): case report of 4 patients. J Orthop Trauma 20(6):435–438PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Bansal A, Bhatia N, Singh A, Singh AK (2011) Doxycycline sclerodesis as a treatment option for persistent Morel-Lavallée lesions. Injury. doi: 10.1016/j.injury.2011.11.024
  30. 30.
    Davis S, Rambotti P, Grignani F (1984) Intrapericardial tetracycline sclerosis in the treatment of malignant pericardial effusion: an analysis of thirty-three cases. J Clin Oncol 2:631–636PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Caliendo MV, Lee DE, Queiroz R, Waldman DL (2001) Sclerotherapy with use of doxycycline after percutaneous drainage of postoperative lymphoceles. J Vasc Intery Radiol 12:73–77CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Chin A, Ragavendra N, Hilborne L, Gritsch HA (2003) Fibrin sealant sclerotherapy for treatment of lymphoceles following renal transplantation. J Urol 170:380–383PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Cohan RH, Saeed M, Schwab SJ, Perlmutt DNR (1988) Povidone-iodine sclerosis of pelvic lymphoceles: a prospective study. Urol Radiol 10:203–206PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Penaud A, Quignon R, Danin A, Bahe L, Zakine G (2011) Alcohol sclerodesis: an innovative treatment for chronic Morel-Lavallée lesions. J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg 64(10):e262–e264, Epub 2011 Jul 7PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sandeep Dawre
    • 1
  • Shashank Lamba
    • 1
  • Sreekar H
    • 1
  • Soumya Gupta
    • 1
  • Ashish Kumar Gupta
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Plastic and Reconstructive SurgeryChristian Medical CollegeVelloreIndia

Personalised recommendations