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What Are the Most Common Traumatic Brain Injuries?

There are four primary types of traumatic brain injuries — skull fractures, hematomas, contusions, and hemorrhages.

Skull fractures happen when part of the cranium is broken. Skull fractures at the base of the skull are most likely to result in vascular and neurologic injury. If the temporal bone is broken, it could affect hearing and/or result in facial weakness. Complex open skull fractures where the brain lining is breached often require surgery to correct.

Contusions are small bruises to the brain. These can result in functional impairment; however, patients do not usually need to have surgery to resolve the issue. Drying agents can be used to reduce brain swelling. Alternatively, surgeons may drain some of the excess brain fluid to relieve pressure from swelling.

Hematomas may be located under the skull but outside the brain’s lining (epidural hematoma), or they could be located inside the brain’s lining (subdural hematoma). Hematomas involve a torn artery that results in a blood clot. Both types of hematomas may require surgery to resolve.

Hemorrhages, and specifically intracerebral hemorrhages, happen inside the brain itself. Some surgeries can intercede to limit the damage done by a hemorrhage so it doesn’t get worse. However, in severe cases, recovery is slow and varies with the patient and their particular circumstances.

Car accidents are some of the most common causes of traumatic brain injuries. Considering the high price paid for medical and rehabilitative care and the fact that many patients can no longer work and hold down a job, it may behoove people with brain injuries to investigate whether they can pursue a personal injury claim to pay for these damages. If it can be proven that another party was at fault for the accident and injuries, brain injury patients might be able to recover money to pay for medical costs related to their injuries.

Source: University of Arizona Department of Surgery, “Neurosurgery,” accessed June 28, 2016