Simply explained, a brain contusion is a bruise of the brain tissue. Just like bruises that occur on other parts of the body, a brain contusion is caused by small blood vessel leaks. Because they involve structural brain damage, contusions are more serious than concussions.
Causes of Brain Contusions
Brain contusions are most often caused by an impact to the head, such as those sustained in a car accident, a fall, or a sports-related accident. In some cases the brain is injured right below the site of impact, while in other cases the injury occurs on the opposite side of the impact.
Contusions are most often found in cortical tissue, in areas that are near sharp ridges on the inside of the skull, such as under the frontal and temporal lobes and on the root of the ocular orbit.
Signs and Symptoms
Contusions can be very minor with few symptoms and little or no damage to the brain, or they can be quite severe. People with severe contusions often spend some time unconscious following the injury, and upon awaking are confused, tired, emotional, or agitated. More severe contusions lead to swelling in the brain, which can cause additional brain damage.
Other symptoms of brain contusions may include:
- Memory loss
- Attention problems
- Emotional disturbances
- Difficulty with motor coordination
- Loss of ability to understand or express speech
If you suspect that you or someone you love has a brain contusion, consult with a physician immediately.
The prognosis for contusion depends upon the severity of the injury. Minor contusions are able to heal on their own with no medical intervention, while extremely severe contusions can cause herniation of the brain, and eventually coma