Head Injuries | Overview

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Are head injuries serious?

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 effects.

Types of head injuries

  • A concussion is a jarring injury to the brain. Most of the time it doesn't involve a loss of consciousness. A person who has a concussion may feel dazed and may lose vision or balance for a while after the injury.
  • A brain contusion is a bruise of the brain. This means there is some bleeding in the brain, causing swelling.
  • A skull fracture is when the skull cracks. Sometimes the edges of broken skull bones cut into the brain and cause bleeding or other injury.
  • A hematoma is bleeding in the brain that collects and clots, forming a bump. A hematoma may not be apparent for a day or even as long as several weeks. So it's important to tell your doctor if someone with a head injury feels or acts oddly. Watch out for headaches, listlessness, balance problems or throwing up.

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 03/14
Created: 01/06

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