A serious head injury occurs when the brain hits against the
inside of the skull with enough force to cause brain damage. A serious head
injury may result from a hard blow to the head, from severe jarring or shaking of
the head, or when an object pierces the head.
With this type of injury, the brain tissue may bruise,
swell, or tear. Nerves or blood vessels within or around the brain may stretch,
pull apart, or tear.
Serious injury to the brain may occur even
when there is no visible bleeding or injury on the outside of the skull.
Symptoms of a serious head injury may include:
A difference in the size of the pupils of the eyes.
New vision problems.
A person with a serious head injury should visit a doctor immediately.
It can be hard right after a head
injury to tell the difference between a mild concussion and a more serious
injury. A brain bruise (contusion) or bleeding within the skull at first may
cause only mild symptoms. If a person with a head injury is seen by a doctor,
he or she should still be closely watched for any changes in behavior or
symptoms for the next 24 hours or longer.
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine