Head injuries are the trauma affecting the scalp, skull, or brain which varies from mild to severe. There are injuries which are producing hemorrhage within the skull while others are damaging the outside part of the head. The injuries can appear in various forms including bruises, lacerations, and bumps. The brain receives various kinds of injuries which depend on both of the force type and amount of force impacting the head.
There are several types of head trauma and these include:
A. Traumatic Brain Injury
– Concussion –the most known kind of traumatic brain injury. This may be due to direct blows to the head, shaking the head violently, gunshot wounds, or force coming from the whiplash type injury. The closed and open head injuries can lead to concussion. Concussion happens when the brain receives trauma that is from an impact or sudden change of movement which leads to the stretching of the blood vessels in the brain and damaging of the cranial nerves.
The person with concussion may or may not have short unconsciousness. Those who remain to have consciousness may feel dazed. Concussion is regarded as complex neurobehavioral syndrome as it may or may not represent swelling, skull fracture, or brain hemorrhage. The healing of concussion takes months to years.
– Contusion – may be due to a direct impact to the head which leads to bruising or bleeding to the brain. Contusions which are large may necessitate surgical removal.
– Coup-Contrecoup – an injury resulting to contusions to both of the area of the impact and to the whole opposite side of the brain. This happens when the impact of force to the head is not enough to be causing contusion at the impact’s site. Also, the force of impact causes the brain movement to be slamming into the opposite side of the skull.
– Diffuse Axonal –may be due to rotational forces like car accidents and shaking or strong turning of the head like with the Shaken Baby Syndrome. Injury or tearing of brain structures occur due to the unmoving brain which is lagging behind the skull movement. The nerve tissue tears lead to the disruption of the regular communication as well as chemical processes of the brain which may lead to temporary or permanent brain damage, coma, or even death.
– Penetration – may result from the impact of a bullet, knife, or any sharp object that may force the skin, hair, bones, or fragments from the object towards to the brain.
– Anoxia – occurs when the brain is not receiving oxygen since oxygen is vital in the brain cells for function and survival.
• Anoxic Anoxia – due to no brain oxygen supply
• Anemic Anoxia – due to blood not carrying enough oxygen
• Toxic Anoxia – due to toxins or metabolites blocking the oxygen in the blood
– Hypoxic – brain is receiving only some oxygen which is not enough. The hypoxic ischemic brain injury happens when there is lacking of blood flow to the brain. This is also regarded as stagnant hypoxia or ischemic insult.
C. Levels of Brain Injury
– Mild Traumatic Brain Injury – brief unconsciousness (seconds to minutes)
– Moderate Traumatic Brain Injury – unconsciousness for minutes to few hours
– Severe Brain Injury – wide range of functional changes that affect emotions, sensations, thinking, and language