What is a Cerebral Contusion?
TBI Cerebral contusions are bruises to the brain. With a head injury, there are often two areas with contusions, the area where the head was directly impacted (the coup injury) and the area where the brain bounced against the skull (the contrecoup injury). When the brain bounces against the skull, there is twisting and/or tearing of blood vessels and other brain matter. Contrecoup injuries usually result in edema (swelling). If the bleeding is extensive the contusion will lead to hematoma (a collection of blood). Both edema and hematoma can lead to permanent brain damage or death.
The frontal and temporal lobes of the brain are where contrecoup contusions most often occur, which explains why people who have had contusions often have problems with reason, attention span, emotions and memory.
What is Hematoma?
A hematoma is a collection of blood and can occur anywhere on or in the body. With head trauma, hematoma involves the meninges of the brain and spinal cord. The meninges are three membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord, affording some protection against injury. The three membranes are the dura mater (the tough, outmost membrane), the arachnoid (the inner membrane) and the pia mater (the innermost membrane).
There are three different kinds of hematoma associated with head trauma that involve the meninges of the brain:
- Epidural hematoma: Collection of blood between the dura mater (the tough outer membrane covering the brain) and the skull
- Subdural hematoma: Collection of blood between the dura mater and the arachnoid (the middle membrane of the brain)
- Subarachnoid hematoma: Collection of blood between the arachnoid and the pia mater (the innermost membrane of the brain)
All of the above are extremely serious and can cause permanent brain damage or death. What happens is the hematoma (collection of blood) puts pressure on the brain, damaging brain tissue. The extent of the traumatic brain injury damage depends on how quickly the blood collected, the amount of bleeding, and the area(s) of the brain affected.