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What Is A Brain Contusion

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What Is The Prognosis For People With Traumatic Brain Injuries

What is a Cerebral Contusion?

Recovery from a TBI is highly individualized. It depends on the severity, cause and type of injury. People with mild TBIs are expected to improve and return to their pre-injury functioning within days to a few months. Some people with mild TBIs have few concerns and never seek treatment.

Moderate to severe TBIs can cause more significant difficulties with changes to their thinking and behavior. People with severe TBIs can have lifelong changes.

There are several different factors that can influence someones recovery.

How Are Head Injuries Diagnosed

The full extent of the problem may not be completely understood immediately after the injury, but may be revealed with a comprehensive medical evaluation and diagnostic testing. The diagnosis of a head injury is made with a physical examination and diagnostic tests. During the examination, the doctor obtains a complete medical history of the patient and family and asks how the injury occurred. Trauma to the head can cause neurological problems and may require further medical follow up.

Diagnostic tests may include:

  • Blood tests

  • X-ray. A diagnostic test that uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of internal tissues, bones, and organs onto film.

  • Computed tomography scan . A diagnostic imaging procedure that uses a combination of X-rays and computer technology to produce horizontal, or axial, images of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are more detailed than general X-rays.

  • Electroencephalogram . A procedure that records the brain’s continuous, electrical activity by means of electrodes attached to the scalp.

  • Magnetic resonance imaging . A diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnets, radiofrequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body.

Diagnosing A Head Injury

In order to know if you have a concussion, your doctor will run some tests on you. Once these tests are complete, you will probably be told if there are any complications.

If you feel like you have a concussion, you need to take steps to keep yourself safe. You will want to follow the instructions given to you by your doctor.

Keep a log of your symptoms so that you can share them with your health care provider.

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Whats A Typical Recovery Plan For Students Who Have Experienced A Concussion

Its important to know that recovery plans need to be individualized for each person. Your concussion specialist or family doctor can assist in creating this individualized plan and providing it to the student so they can share with the school.

At first students may need to miss several days of school for symptoms to calm down. Once the student can manage their symptoms at home in a controlled environment, they should gradually add some mental work like reading or writing in journal. If they can perform an hour of mental activity at home without worsening symptoms, they can try to return to school.

Students should not return to school for half days. Rather, they should try to complete as many classes as concussion symptoms allow each day. This may require getting more rest each day. Students should not set an alarm clock but wake when their body and brain are ready and then, if symptoms allow it, go to school. If the student gets symptoms during the school day, they should go to an agreed upon location, such as the nurses office or counselors office, and rest before returning to class. Should the student’s symptoms result in them spending more time in the space designated for rest and recovery than in class, the student should consider going home.

Parents should work with teachers, school nurses, counselors or psychologists to make other adjustments in their school day. For example, students may:

How Is A Traumatic Brain Injury Diagnosed

The personal and economic burden of traumatic brain injury

Your healthcare provider will examine you and ask about your symptoms. They will also want to learn more about what caused the injury. Depending on the severity of the injury and symptoms, you may have:

  • Neurological evaluation: A neurologist checks your memory, thinking, motor function and sensory functions .
  • Imaging tests: A CT scan or MRI checks for brain bleeding and swelling.
  • Blood test: The Banyan Brain Trauma Indicator looks for proteins in your blood that indicate concussion or mild TBI.

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Exercises To Keep Your Brain Healthy

In order to keep your brain functioning properly, it is important that you remain as active as possible. It is especially important to exercise.

There are many different kinds of exercises that will help you stay healthy and strong. One exercise you can do is stretching.

Stretching is one way to stretch the muscles and can be done with any sort of physical activity. If you dont want to exercise, you can also use non-invasive therapies.

These include massage, acupuncture, and other alternative treatments that will help you to rest your mind and body.

What Are The Types Of Traumatic Brain Injuries

The severity of the head injury is determined by several different factors, such as loss of consciousness, certain neurological symptoms that happened at the time of the injury, loss of memory for the injury and time surrounding it, and abnormalities on head CT or brain MRI.

There are several different types and grades of TBI:

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What Is A Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury refers to damage to the brain caused by an external physical force such as a car accident, a gunshot wound to the head, or a fall. A TBI is not caused by something internal such as a stroke or tumor, and does not include damage to the brain due to prolonged lack of oxygen . It is possible to have a TBI and never lose consciousness. For example, someone with a penetrating gunshot wound to the head may not lose consciousness.

Commonly accepted criteria established by the TBI Model Systems to identify the presence and severity of TBI include:

Damage to brain tissue caused by an external force and at least one of the following:

  • A documented loss of consciousness
  • The person cannot recall the actual traumatic event
  • The person has a skull fracture, post-traumatic seizure, or an abnormal brain scan due to the trauma

A TBI can range from mild to severe in effect. The TBI Model System program focuses on those with moderate to severe TBI that requires participation in rehabilitation. Much of the information provided below focuses on those with moderate-severe TBI.

How Can I Prevent A Traumatic Brain Injury

Contusion – traumatic brain injury explained

Many TBIs arent preventable. They happen without warning due to an accident or fall. But you can take these steps to avoid some incidents that commonly cause TBIs:

  • Monitor medicines: Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review your prescription and over-the-counter medications, including supplements. Be sure you know which ones might make you dizzy, sleepy and more prone to falls. You may be able to change medications.
  • Have clear vision: Get regular eye exams so you can see well enough to prevent falls and injuries. Arrange good lighting at home to light the way.
  • Fall-proof your home: Remove rugs that are tripping hazards. Install stair handrails and bathtub grab bars. And if you have young children, install window guards on high windows and safety gates on stairs. Be aware of toys and pets underfoot.
  • Be smart behind the wheel: Buckle everyone up with seat belts, and use car seats or booster seats for children. Dont drive if youre drowsy or under the influence.
  • Put on a helmet: Protect your head when you play sports like hockey or football or when you bike, skate, ski or snowboard. And wear a helmet when you ride a motorcycle, scooter, ATV or horse.
  • Stay active: Activities like yoga, tai chi and strength training build muscle and improve balance.
  • Use a walking assist device: Walkers and canes can help you be steadier on your feet.

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Ct Or Mri Scan Results

The cranial tomography scan is a type of X-ray that shows problems in the brain such as bruises, blood clots, and swelling. CT scans are not painful. People with moderate to severe TBI will have several CT scans while in the hospital to keep track of lesions . In some cases, a magnetic resonance imaging scan may also be performed. This also creates a picture of the brain based on magnetic properties of molecules in tissue. Most people with severe TBI will have an abnormality on a CT scan or MRI scan. These scans cannot detect all types of brain injuries, so it is possible to have a severe TBI and be in coma even though the scan results are normal.

How Is A Concussion Treated

You need physical and mental rest to recover from a concussion. Although youll need more rest and sleep than normal, you dont need 100% complete rest. In fact, research has shown that too much mental rest can actually lengthen the recovery period and make you more sensitive to activities when you return to them.

Instead of stopping activities entirely, learn to recognize the triggers that bring on concussion symptoms. Start back slowly, in small amounts. When symptoms occur, back off and rest. Its okay to do some of the activities that dont make you feel worse. Limit any activities that worsen your symptoms.

For example, activities that may bring on symptoms include:

  • Texting/spending time looking at your smartphone screen.
  • Reading.
  • Listening to loud music.
  • Doing any physical activity.

As your symptoms improve, you can continue to add more of your activities back into your day.

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What Signs And Symptoms Of A Concussion Are Of Greatest Concern When Should A Person Go To An Emergency Room

If a child or adult experiences any of the following symptoms in the hours or days after the head injury, get them to the hospital or call 911:

  • Severe headache or a headache that continues to get worse over time.
  • Seizures or convulsions.
  • Discharge or blood coming out of the nose or ears.
  • Unable to open eyes on their own.
  • Difficulty waking from sleep.
  • Swelling of the soft spot bruising, especially around the eyes or behind the ears swelling of the head skull fracture.

Who Might Get A Traumatic Brain Injury

Understanding Hematomas and Traumatic Brain Injury

Anyone can experience a TBI, although nearly 80% of them happen to males. TBIs are also more common among people older than 65. People in this age group are more prone to losing their balance, falling and hitting their heads. But even infants can experience TBIs from incidents like falling from a bed or changing table, or more rarely, from abuse.

People involved in certain professions or activities have a higher risk of TBIs, including:

  • Athletes .
  • Construction workers.
  • Police and law enforcement.

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What Are The Different Types Of Focal Injuries

A cerebral contusion occurs from a direct impact of the brain against the intracranial bony surfaces and may lead to focal neurologic deficits. Subdural hemorrhage occurs when the bridging veins rupture, causing bleeding between the dura mater and the arachnoid space. This type of injury is more common in children two years of age and younger. It may occur as a result of nonaccidental trauma. Subarachnoid hemorrhage occurs from bleeding of the vessels that supply the pia mater. Accumulation of blood occurs in layers along the bony surface, and bleeding can be quite extensive. Epidural hemorrhage is the result of vascular injury to the middle meningeal or dural venous sinus, resulting in bleeding between the dura and the bone. Because these are venous bleeds, they tend to accumulate slowly, leading to a classic âlucidâ interval after injury with subsequent decompensation.

Clifford M. Houseman, … Raj K. Narayan, in, 2012

How Long Does It Take A Contusion To Heal

The recovery time for a contusion varies based on the severity of the injury and the treatment regimen. Some minor contusions can clear up in a few days with nothing more than simple bed rest and mild medication. Other contusions can takes weeks or even months to healespecially if invasive surgery was required to alleviate pressure on the brain.

For especially severe contusions, post-op recovery can be a long process as patients rebuild their physical stamina and ability to coordinate.

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How Can Brain Imaging Help Me

When you go to the ER or see a medical professional, they will make a concussion diagnosis based on their evaluation of your symptoms. The most accessible brain imaging devices, like MRI or CT, usually show no evidence of brain injury in concussion patients. As we explained above, concussions occur at the cellular level, so the damage is too small to be seen with these scans. Though MRI and CT are not useful alone for diagnosing a concussion, they are valuable for ruling out more serious TBI-related structural damage to the brain and skull, such as bleeding. See our immediate care page for red-flag symptoms that may require follow-up with a medical professional.

How Long Does It Take For A Person To Recover From A Concussion

What is Brain Injury

Each concussion in each person is somewhat unique and so is their recovery timetable. In general though, most concussion symptoms resolve within 14 to 21 days. However, undiagnosed, unrecognized or poorly treated concussions can delay your recovery increasing it from the typical two weeks to months or even longer.

If youve been diagnosed with a concussion and concussion symptoms are still present after 14 days or symptoms worsen, see a healthcare professional who specializes in concussion management.

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What Type Of Healthcare Provider Treats Concussion

If you, your son or daughter or your older parent has experienced a mild blow to the head, you can see your family medical doctor or your pediatrician first for an initial exam. If a concussion is suspected, you may be referred to other doctors and healthcare providers who specialize in the evaluation and management of concussions. These clinicians include:

  • Neurologists, neurosurgeons and neuropsychologists.
  • Sports medicine specialists, exercise medicine physicians, athletic trainers.
  • Neuro-ophthalmologists, vestibular therapists .

A Note from Cleveland Clinic

Questions For Your Doctor

  • Could I have a traumatic brain injury and not know it?
  • Will my symptoms show up weeks later?
  • For a mild traumatic brain injury, how long before I can return to my daily routine?
  • Does a traumatic brain injury cause permanent brain damage?
  • Can you recommend a support group for people who have traumatic brain injuries?

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How Is Icp Monitored

Intracranial pressure is measured in two ways. One way is to place a small hollow tube into the fluid-filled space in the brain . Other times, a small, hollow device is placed through the skull into the space just between the skull and the brain. Both devices are inserted by the doctor either in the intensive care unit or in the operating room. The ICP device is then attached to a monitor that gives a constant reading of the pressure inside the skull. If the pressure goes up, it can be treated right away. While the ICP device is in place the patient will be given medication to stay comfortable. When the swelling has gone down and there is little chance of more swelling, the device will be removed.

What Are Common Symptoms Of A Concussion

Anoxic Brain Injury

If you are recovering from a concussion, you might feel more sensitive to light, sound, movement, and others around you. Common symptoms include difficulty with headaches, memory, irritability, balance, visual processing, sleep, and hormonal changes. Even though others may not notice a difference, if you feel different, its important to realize that your experiences can likely be explained by your injury.

A lack of understanding by medical professionals and others around you is an unfortunately common situation that can make your injury feel invisible. To learn more about how this may affect you and find advice for you and your supporters, check out our page on invisible injury.

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How Is A Head Injury Diagnosed In A Child

The healthcare provider will ask about your childs symptoms, health history, and recent injuries. He or she will give your child a physical exam. Your child may also have tests, such as:

  • Blood tests. Samples of your childs blood may be taken to check for problems.

  • X-ray. This test uses electromagnetic energy beams to make images of internal tissues, bones, and organs onto film.

  • MRI. This imaging test uses large magnets and a computer to make detailed images of organs and tissues in the body.

  • CT scan. This test uses X-rays and a computer to make detailed images of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are more detailed than standard X-rays.

Head injury can cause neurological problems and may need further medical follow up.

How Is Whiplash Which Sometimes Happens Along With Concussion Treated

Ongoing neck pain is a common complaint in both auto accidents and concussions. The head is bent back and forth on the cervical spine, which results in neck muscle injury and irritation. Useful treatments for whiplash include:

  • Taking anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen , aspirin, or naproxen .
  • Learning proper head/neck posture, especially when working on the computer or watching television.
  • Physical therapy with a PT trained in either concussion or cervical spine.
  • Massage.
  • Temporarily keeping the neck still by using a soft foam neck brace .
  • Applying ice and/or heat .
  • Injections of steroids and lidocaine into the nerve at the base of the skull to relieve pain.

Your healthcare provider can give you more specific information on these treatments or where to turn for more help.

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