Head injuries – Brain fractures

What is a head injury?

A head injury is any sort of injury to your brain, skull, or scalp. This can range from a mild bump or bruise to a traumatic brain injury. Common head injuries include concussions, skull fractures, and scalp wounds. The consequences and treatments vary greatly, depending on what caused your head injury and how severe it is.

Symptoms

A person with traumatic brain injury may experience the below symptoms usually after few days or weeks:

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 Causes

The main causes of traumatic brain injury are accidental falls and vehicle accidents. The other less common causes are:

Diagnosis

Traumatic brain injury is an emergency condition, which needs to be assessed quickly and treated promptly. The doctor assesses the severity of the injury based on the score of a 15-point test known as ‘Glasgow Coma Scale’. The doctor may check the person’s ability to move the eyes and limbs and also to follow instructions and coherence of the speech. Higher score indicates low severity of the injury.

Additionally, the doctor may order for laboratory tests, such as X-rays, EEG (electroencephalogram), CT scan or MRI to examine the brain in detail for bleeding, blood clots, bruising or swelling of the brain tissue.

The doctor may also monitor the skull pressure (intracranial pressure) using a probe. This diagnostic procedure is performed to minimize any further damage to the skull due to an increase in the intracranial pressure due to swelling.

Treatment

Treatment aims at preventing the worsening of brain damage. Outcome of the treatment depends on the severity of the injury.

Most cases of mild TBI do not need any extensive treatment other than over-the-counter headache medications and some rest.

Moderate to severe TBI cases need emergency treatment, which includes oxygen, blood supply, blood pressure maintenance and preventing further injuries. In case of severe injury, intensive care and rehabilitation is required.

Medications may be given to prevent secondary damage to the brain. These may include:

Surgery may be recommended in some cases to repair a fractured skull, to relieve pressure in the brain or to remove blood clots, which may increase pressure on the brain. It is not advised to involve in physical or cognitive activities for some days as recommended by the doctor.

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