Various Types of Head Injury

Various Types of Head Injury

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Various Types of Head Injury

, Various Types of Head InjuryHead injury includes injury to brain as well as injury to skull (e.g. fracture of skull) and scalp as soft tissues outside the skull. Head injury can also be open (wound or cut in the scalp) or closed. Closed head injury (mainly due to non-missile) may cause injury to brain, fracture of skull or base of the skull, but the dura matter generally remains intact. Open head injury is generally penetrating type and may breach dura matter and penetrate the skull.

Various head injuries include:

  • Concussion
  • Intracranial hemorrhage
  • Cerebral contusion
  • Diffuse axonal injury


Traumatic brain injury and concussion are used synonymously, while describing head injury. Concussion usually indicates mild form of brain injury, which is generally due to blow to head with a blunt object. Concussion can lead to physical, emotional and cognitive disturbance. More severe form of concussion may lead to amnesia (forgetfulness) which may be retrograde (forgetfulness of events after injury) or anterograde (forgetfulness of events before injury). The longer the duration of amnesia the severe is the head injury. Concussion is the most common types of head injury among children.

Symptoms of concussion include nausea, headache, blurring of vision, fatigue, confusion, clumsiness and commonly post-concussion syndrome, which is manifested by memory problems, dizziness, tiredness, sickness and depression.

Intracranial hemorrhage:

Intracranial hemorrhage is also known as focal hemorrhage, which means it occurs in a small spot and not diffuse all over the brain. Intracranial hemorrhage may be intra-axial or extra-axial hemorrhage.

Intra-axial hemorrhage is also known as cerebral hemorrhage, which occurs within the brain. Cerebral hemorrhage may be intra-parenchymal (bleeding within brain tissue) or intraventricular (bleeding in the ventricles of the brain). Intra-axial hemorrhages are more difficult to treat than extra-axial hemorrhages and therefore more dangerous.

Extra-axial hemorrhages occur outside of the brain but within the skull and they are of three types, namely epidural hemorrhage (extradural), sub-dural hemorrhage and subarachnoid hemorrhage.

In epidural hemorrhage, bleeding occurs between dura matter and skull, due to trauma. Patient may suffer from loss of consciousness, vomiting, lucid interval etc.

In subdural hemorrhage, bleeding occurs in between dura matter and arachnoid matter, due to severing of veins.

Subarachnoid hemorrhage occurs between arachnoid matter and pia matter.

Cerebral contusion:

It is bruising of brain tissue, which most commonly occurs in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. Cerebral contusion may lead to cerebral edema, herniation of brain tissue. The aim of treatment is to reduce intracranial pressure and cerebral edema.

Diffuse axonal injury:

It occurs commonly due to rapid acceleration and deceleration motion and may not always be due to an impact. Axons or nerve fibers inside the brain gets stretched and damaged due to sliding of different parts of the brain over one another due to difference in their density, due to rapid acceleration and deceleration motion. Prognosis depends of the extent of axonal damage.

“Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono /”.

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