Any sudden trauma can cause damage to the brain. Neurological trauma can encompass many injuries, including contusions, closed head injuries, skull fractures, intracranial hemorrhages, and spinal fractures. About 1.5 million Americans suffer from a brain injury each year. In fact, brain injuries are the number one cause of death in young adults and children. Determining the extent of a trauma injury involves many different types of imaging and neurological tests.
Brain trauma can be mild, moderate, or severe. Depending on the extent of the damage, symptoms may include headache, confusion, dizziness, lightheadedness, blurred vision, loss of consciousness, ringing in ears, mood changes, vomiting, trouble thinking, slurred speech, and dilation of pupils. Burr hole surgery or craniectomy may be performed as treatment.
A brain contusion is a bruise of brain tissue caused by small blood vessel leaks. A brain contusion often occurs following an impact to the head, and the injury is most often found in cortical tissue. This type of injury can be minor, with few symptoms, or severe. Some symptoms include unconsciousness, agitation, confusion, lethargy, memory loss, numbness, and speech problems. A minor contusion may heal on its own, but a more severe one requires emergency care.
A spine fracture is most common in the lower back or middle of the back. This type of injury typically occurs after a fall or accident. Pain is often worsened by movement, and if the spinal cord is involved in the injury, additional symptoms can include numbness, tingling, weakness, and bladder or bowel dysfunction. There are several different types of fracture patterns
A brain hemorrhage is a type of stroke that occurs when bleeding in the brain kills cells. The bleeding can occur inside the brain or between layers of the brain or between the skull and brain covering. This type of trauma injury can be caused by impact, blood vessel abnormalities, high blood pressure, or aneurysms. Symptoms include sudden headache, weakness, numbness, nausea, seizures, and loss of consciousness. Treatment depends on the cause of the hemorrhage and where it is located, but can include radiology and microsurgical techniques to treat abnormal vessels.