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Should you worry about a cerebral contusion?

A traumatic brain injury is an injury to the brain due to a blow to the head, a skull puncture or brain movement inside the skull. While many events may contribute to a TBI, car accidents are a leading cause of the injury. Like a concussion or penetrating injury, a cerebral contusion is a type of TBI. 

A cerebral contusion is simply a bruise on the brain. While some cerebral contusions are minor, others may be medical emergencies. Consequently, after any car accident, it is often critical to seek a full medical evaluation, including a neurological exam, to determine whether you have suffered a cerebral contusion. 

Causes of cerebral contusion

Cerebral contusions may happen in a couple ways. First, you may hit your head, causing a single blood vessel in your brain to rupture. When blood accumulates around the rupture, a bruise is likely to form. 

Second, your brain may move around in your skull during rapid deceleration in a crash, causing a few micro hemorrhages to appear in your brain. Either way, cerebral contusions usually occur in an isolated section of the brain. 

Symptoms of cerebral contusion

Sometimes, individuals who have suffered cerebral contusions are asymptomatic. In other instances, one or more of the following symptoms may appear: 

  • Headaches 
  • Confusion, disorientation or dizziness 
  • Nausea, vomiting or appetite loss 
  • Coordination difficulties 
  • Personality changes 
  • Seizures 

If you have a minor cerebral contusion, your injury may go away without medical treatment. Unfortunately, because there may be a fine line between a minor injury and a major one, you probably should not take a possible cerebral contusion lightly. 

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