Dr. MJ Bazos MD,
What are the main causes of head
A serious head injury is most
likely to happen to someone who is in a car wreck and isn’t wearing a seat
belt. Other major causes of head injuries include bicycle wrecks, falls from
windows (especially among children who live in the city) and falls around the
house (especially among toddlers and the elderly). Another cause in babies is
being shaken by an adult.
They can be.
Bleeding, tearing of tissues and brain swelling can occur when the brain moves
inside the skull at the time of an impact. But most people recover from head
injuries and have no lasting
How can my doctor tell how bad
the damage is?
Your doctor will want to
know how the injury occurred, about past medical problems, and about vomiting,
seizures (fits) or problems breathing after the injury. The person who has been
injured may need to stay in the hospital to be watched. Sometimes, special
pictures of the brain may be needed to find out more about the
What to watch for afterward
- Get help if you notice:
- Any symptom that is getting worse, such as
headaches, nausea or sleepiness
- Nausea that doesn’t go away
- Changes in behavior, such as
- Dilated pupils (pupils that are bigger than
normal) or pupils of different sizes
- Trouble walking
- Drainage of bloody or clear fluid from ears or
- Weakness or numbness in the arms or
Will the head injury
cause permanent brain damage?
depends on how bad the injury was and how much damage it did. Most head injuries
don’t cause permanent damage.
happens after the injury?
normal to have a headache, and feel dizzy and nauseous right after a head
injury. Other symptoms include ringing in the ears, neck pain, and feeling
anxious, upset, irritable, depressed or tired. The person who has had a head
injury may also have problems concentrating, remembering things, putting
thoughts together or doing more than one thing at a time. These symptoms usually
go away in a few weeks, but may go on for over a year if the injury was
Is it true that the person
must be kept awake after the
No. If your doctor thinks the
person needs to be watched this closely,
doctor will probably want to keep the
person in the hospital. Sometimes, doctors will send someone who has had a head
injury home if the person with them is reliable enough to watch the injured
person closely. In this case, your doctor may ask you to wake the person
frequently and ask questions such as “what’s your name?” and
“where are you?” to make sure everything is
Will the injury cause
Sometimes epilepsy can start
after a head injury. This is much more common if the injury was from something
that went through the skull, such as from a gunshot or knife wound. Your doctor
might prescribe medicine to lessen the likelihood of epilepsy if he or she
thinks the risk is high.
It’s common for someone
who’s had a head injury to forget the events right before, during and
right after the accident. Memory of these events may never come back. Following
recovery, the ability to learn and remember new things almost always returns.
Types of head
- A concussion is a jarring injury to the
brain. A person who has a concussion passes out for a short while. This usually
lasts for several seconds to several minutes. The person may feel dazed and may
lose vision or balance for a while after the injury. Children who have a
concussion don’t cry right away.
- A brain contusion is a bruise of the
brain. This means there is some bleeding in the brain, causing swelling. A
contusion is a more serious injury than a concussion.
- A skull fracture is when the skull cracks.
A skull fracture is often a more serious injury. Sometimes the edges of broken
skull bones cut into the brain and cause bleeding or other injury. This is most
likely if the skull is broken by something sharp or pointed. Skull fractures are
more common in adults than in young children because skulls of young children
are softer and “give” more without breaking.
- A hematoma is when a head injury causes
bleeding in the brain and the blood collects and clots. Sometimes a hematoma may
not be apparent for a day or even as long as several weeks after the head
injury. This is why it’s important to tell your doctor about anything
unusual in how the person with the head injury is feeling. Even a minor head
injury can sometimes cause a hematoma, especially in an older
The brain may
move inside the skull during impact, causing tissue damage.
- head trauma,
- cerebral contusion,
- cerebral laceration,
- impaired consciousness,
- vegetative state,
- skull penetration,
- postconcussion syndrome,