Brain is a very delicate and highly sensitive organ. It is placed inside the skull which protects it from external influences and injuries. Still there are ways to injure brain without even coming into a close contact with an organ. Brain contusion, also known as cerebral contusion, represents a form of traumatic injury. This is actually bruising of the brain. Some blood vessels of the affected part of the brain leak and release blood into the nearby brain tissue. Brain contusion accounts for approximately 20-30% of all severe head injuries. The effects and consequences of brain contusion depend on the severity of the condition.
What Causes Brain Contusion?
In majority of cases brain contusion develops as a consequence of a severe blow to the head. Furthermore, the condition is associated with center coup injuries during which the head moves into one direction while the brain moves into the opposite direction and eventually hits the inside of the skull. Coup injuries are characteristic for falls, car accidents etc.
Clinical Characteristics of Brain Contusion
In mild cases symptoms and signs are not serious and withdraw spontaneously without any need for medical treatment. However, a person who has suffered brain contusion and develops more serious symptoms or signs requires immediate medical care. Symptoms and signs associated with severe injury to the brain include excruciating headache accompanied by nausea and vomiting, increase in size or uneven size of the pupils of the eyes, long period of unconsciousness, confusion, agitation or tiredness, loss of memory and inability of the casualty to understand and express through speech. Furthermore, emotional disturbances, numbness of certain parts of the body, inability to concentrate, inadequate motor coordination and different cognitive problems are also considered serious and such patients must be treated promptly.
Treatment for Brain Contusion
It is essential to make quick diagnosis of brain contusion. Furthermore, it is essential to identify the underlying cause. Apart from physical and neurological examination patients who have suffered brain contusion additionally undergo CT scan or MRI of the brain. These imaging methods will show the actual site of contusion and may be very helpful in determining the extent of the damage.
Treatment depends on the severity of contusion and potential complications. Patients with severe damage to the brain and significant neurological symptoms and signs require hospitalization. If there is extensive swelling of the brain doctors administer specific drugs in order to reduce swelling and potential complications such as increase in intracranial pressure. If the swelling cannot be controlled with medications patients undergo surgery.