Contusion

Contusion is a bruise on the brain that can cause swelling. Contusions are a form of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) along with and hematomas.

The brain is composed of soft, delicate structures that are within the skull. There are many components that make up the full structure of the brain and there is very little extra room within the skull cavity. An injury to the head causes the brain to bounce against the hard bone of the skull. This force may cause a tearing of the structures and blood vessels of the brain, which causes a breakdown of messages within the brain. The damage to the brain generally is found deep within the brain tissue and can be thought of as small bruises on the brain. Just like a bruise in any other part of the body, there is local swelling in the area. Because the brain has no extra room within the closed skull cavity, there is nowhere for the brain to swell. The normal function of the brain signals are interrupted due to this swelling. This causes the brain to not function properly causing symptoms that are outlined below.

Causes of a contusion

A contusion can happen to anyone, at any time. The most common causes of contusion include a blow to the head from a motor vehicle crash, fall, or assault. People at higher risk are those who have difficulty walking and fall often and those who are active in high-impact contact sports. Mild head injury, such as contusions, are a frequent cause for hospital admission.

Symptoms of a contusion

The signs and symptoms of a contusion include:

  • severe headache
  • dizziness
  • vomiting
  • increased size of one pupil
  • sudden weakness in an arm or leg

The person may seem restless, agitated or irritable. Often, the person may have memory loss or seem forgetful. These symptoms may last for several hours or several weeks depending on the seriousness of the injury. Any period of loss of consciousness or amnesia around the head injury should be evaluated by a medical professional. As the brain tissue swells, the person may feel tired or confused. If the person is difficult to awaken or passes out, seek medical attention right away; this could be a sign of a more severe injury.

Treatment of a contusion

The treatment for a contusion is usually to watch the person closely for any change in level of consciousness. The person may need to stay in the hospital for close observation. Surgery is usually not necessary. Headache and dizziness are common, but if the headache persists or becomes severe, it is best to seek medical attention.

Recovery from a traumatic brain injury can be very slow. It is not unusual for several days to go by without seeing any major visible change. Within this recovery period it is important to try to get enough rest and nutrition on behalf of the loved ones while they are waiting for the patient to recover. Normal feelings such as frustration, overwhelmed, lonely and worry may ensue. Sometimes a friend, or support group can help.

If you or someone you know has had a contusion because of someone else’s negligence, call Christensen & Hymas for a free confidential consultation at (801)506-0800, you may be able to get compensation for the pain and suffering endured from the injury.

Image “Intracerebral” copyright by Lucien Monfils.

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