An open head injury, sometimes also called a penetrating head injury, results when an object penetrates the skull and enters the brain. Open head injuries are usually focal, which means that they affect a specific area of brain tissue. Open head injuries are very serious and can cause permanent disability, and even death.
Causes of Open Brain Injury
Open head injury can be caused by high-velocity objects such as bullets, but can also be caused by low-velocity objects such as knives and other weapons. One of the most common causes of open brain injury is skull fracture, in which a piece of bone from the skull penetrates the brain. Skull fractures can be caused by a blow to the head, car accidents, a fall, or a sports or athletic injury.
Prognosis of Open Brain Injury
As a general rule of thumb, high-velocity injuries are associated with more long-term damage than low-velocity injuries. Penetrating injuries from bullets, for example, have a mortality rate of 92%. Perforating injuries, in which the object enters and then exits the skull, have a prognosis that’s even grimmer.
Patients who live can expect to have issues related to the area of the brain that’s damaged. Approximately 50 percent of patients with brain injuries experience post-traumatic epilepsy.