Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Brain Injury Overview

Another name for Brain Injury is Head Injury.

What is a head injury?
A person with a head injury has damage to the face, scalp, or skull, caused by an injury. Head injuries can also include injuries to the brain. Head injury is the leading cause of death due to trauma. Common causes of head injuries include falls, automobile accidents, sports injuries, occupational injuries, and assaults.

What are the symptoms of a head injury?
Symptoms of a minor head injury include headache, scalp swelling, scalp laceration, scalp tenderness, dizziness, nausea, sleepiness, and fatigue. Symptoms of a serious head injury include repeated vomiting, severe headache, amnesia, confusion, lethargy, loss of consciousness, slurred speech, seizures, and difficulty walking.

How does the doctor treat a head injury?
Treatment for a minor head injury includes cold compresses, rest, medications for nausea, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain. Treatment for a serious head injury may require corticosteroids, anticonvulsants, and surgery.

Continue to Brain Injury Incidence

Last Updated: Oct 28, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Brain Injury References
  1. Edwards P, Arango M, Balica L, et al. CRASH trial collaborators. Final results of MRC CRASH, a randomised placebo-controlled trial of intravenous corticosteroid in adults with head injury-outcomes at 6 months. Lancet. 2005 Jun 4-10;365(9475):1957-9. [15936423]
  2. Grappling with traumatic brain injury. Lancet. 2007 Dec 8;370(9603):1879. [18068492]
  3. Lee AC, Ou Y, Fong D. Depressed skull fractures: a pattern of abusive head injury in three older children. Child Abuse Negl. 2003 Nov;27(11):1323-9. [14637305]
  4. McKinley J. New challenges in assessing and managing concussion in sports. Am Fam Physician. 2007 Oct 1;76(7):948-9. [17956064]
  5. Ropper AH, Gorson KC. N Engl J Med. 2007 Jan 11;356(2):166-72. Review. No abstract available. Erratum in: N Engl J Med. 2007 Apr 26;356(17):1794. [17215534]
  6. Smits M, Dippel DW, de Haan GG, Dekker HM, Vos PE, Kool DR, Nederkoorn PJ, Hofman PA, Twijnstra A, Tanghe HL, Hunink MG. External validation of the Canadian CT Head Rule and the New Orleans Criteria for CT scanning in patients with minor head injury. JAMA. 2005 Sep 28;294(12):1519-25. [16189365]
  7. Tender GC, Awasthi D. Risk stratification in mild head injury patients: the head injury predictive index. J La State Med Soc. 2003 Nov-Dec;155(6):338-42. [14750754]
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