Head injury

Injury to the head may occur as a result of a blow or a fall. The severity of the injury depends on whether the brain is affected. A blow may shake or bruise the brain (see brain damage). If the skull is broken (see skull, fracture of), foreign material or bone may enter the brain and lead to infection. A blow or a penetrating injury may cause swelling of the brain, or tear blood vessels, which may lead to brain haemorrhage. If the head injury is mild, there may only be a slight headache. In some cases there is concussion. More severe head injuries may result in unconsciousness or coma, which may be fatal. Amnesia may occur. After a severe brain injury, there may be some muscular weakness or paralysis and loss of sensation. Symptoms such as persistent vomiting, double vision, or a deteriorating level of consciousness could suggest progressive brain damage. Investigations may include skull X-rays and CT scanning. A blood clot inside the skull may be life-threatening and requires surgical removal; severe skull fractures may also require surgery. Recovery from concussion may take several days. There may be permanent physical or mental disability if the brain has been damaged. Recovery from a major head injury can be very slow, but there may be signs of progressive improvement for several years after the injury occurred.


Online Medical Dictionary: Your essential reference to over 5000 medical terms.