Head injuries are very scary and can have some very dangerous outcomes. Our skull houses and protects our brain, which is the core of our being. Injury to the brain can be caused by a widespread variety of things, but most commonly blunt force. Two of the main types of injuries are concussions and contusions. The difference between these head injuries can be somewhat confusing. Let’s take a closer look at the details and differences between the two.
Facts About Concussions
A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that affects the way your brain functions. It is caused by blunt force to the head but can also happen if the entire body is shaken violently. They are very serious injuries that need medical attention immediately.
Symptoms of a concussion can be very mild and often go unnoticed. They can last for weeks or even months. Some of the most common are a temporary loss of consciousness, confusion, ringing in the ears, slurred speech, dazed appearance, fatigue, personality changes, sensitivity to light, dizziness, headache, and delayed responses. It is extremely important to seek care if you have experienced any type of head injury, especially if loss of consciousness lasts longer than thirty seconds or repeated vomiting occurs.
Many different things can cause a concussion. It happens when excessive force is placed on the head and the brain slides back and forth against the inner walls of the skull. One of the most common things that causes concussions are car accidents. A fall that results in the head being hit on a hard surface, fights, or impact sports also commonly cause them.
There are many very serious risks that are associated with obtaining a concussion. Post traumatic headaches and vertigo can last months after a concussion is sustained. People that suffer from a concussion are also twice as likely to develop epilepsy. Limited brain function and ability can also be caused by repeated head injuries. This is most common in impact sports players like boxers and football players.
The most common treatment recommended for someone that has sustained a concussion is plenty of rest. It is needed in order for your brain to fully heal and recover. Limiting activities is also necessary, especially things that involve a high level of thinking or concentration. These activities should be slowly re added to a person’s daily routine.
A contusion of the brain, referred to as a cerebral contusion, is when brain tissue is bruised. This is caused by great impact to the head and most often sustained in the cortical tissue of the brain, which are the areas near sharp ridges of the skull. These are very serious injuries.
The symptoms of a cerebral contusion depend on how severe the injury is and the location of the damage. The most common signs that someone has sustained a contusion are sleepiness, loss of consciousness, seizures, coordination problems, memory loss, vision and speech problems, and a change in personality or behavior.
Cerebral contusion prognosis depends on the extent of the injury that is sustained. In minor cases the contusions can heal on their own with little to no medical treatment. In very severe cases herniation of the brain can result, which will eventually end in a coma and possibly death.
The treatment for a brain contusion depends largely on how severe the injury is. Hospitalization is usually required for observations and testing. Ultrasounds and MRI’s are done to determine the location and severity of the contusion. If their is a large amount of blood or clotting in the brain than a craniotomy may be done to remove the contusion. In mild cases rest and observation is usually all that is needed.
Differences Between Concussion and Contusion
1. Type of Injury
The key difference between a concussion and a contusion is the type of injury that the brain sustains. With a concussion the injury comes from the movement of the brain but not physical damage is done. With a contusion bleeding in the brain that causes a bruise occurs.
The severity of these brain injuries are also vastly different. A concussion is fairy minor and heals on it’s own. The only risk with concussion is if repeated injury occurs. A cerebral contusion is highly severe due to the bleeding that occurs. A contusion in the brain can result in coma or even death.
Another big difference is that concussion are wide spread injuries that affect a large portion of the brain. A contusion is localized in only one place of the brain.
On an imaging machine the differences between concussions and cerebral contusions are very obvious. Concussion cannot be detected on an MRI and the imaging of the brain will appear completely normal. A contusion, however, is very evident on an MRI.