Traumatic Brain Injury / Concussion / Intracranial Hematomas

Traumatic brain injury can result from a blow to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Symptoms can be mild, moderate or severe, depending on the extent of damage. Always seek immediate medical attention for injuries to the brain.

Our experienced neurosurgeons provide 24-hour coverage for trauma and emergency surgery cases at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth, and follow each patient from initial assessment through ongoing care and rehabilitation.

Is It a Concussion?

A concussion causes temporary loss of normal brain function and is usually caused by a blow to the head that causes the brain to bounce against the inside of the skull. Symptoms include memory loss, confusion, dizziness, nausea, balance issues, and seeing stars and/or blurred vision. A concussion can also affect judgment, reflexes, speech and muscle coordination.

A blow to the head has the potential to cause torn blood vessels, pulled nerve fibers or brain bruising. In severe cases, brain tissue swells, compressing the brain and its blood vessels inside the skull. This can limit blood flow and prevent the necessary flow of oxygen and glucose to the brain. A stroke can occur.

Is It a Blood Clot?

An intracranial hematoma, or blood clot, is potentially life-threatening and requires prompt treatment. It occurs when a blood vessel ruptures within your brain or between your skull and your brain.

The fluid surrounding your brain can’t absorb the force of a sudden blow or a quick stop, causing your brain to slide forcefully against the inner wall of your skull and become bruised. If bleeding persists, hematomas can rapidly enlarge, compressing the brain, increasing pressure within the skull, and causing serious neurological problems.

Symptoms could be evident immediately or may take several weeks or longer to appear, and may include:

  • Increasing headache
  • Vomiting
  • Drowsiness and progressive loss of consciousness
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Unequal pupil size
  • Weak limbs on one side of your body
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Seizures

When Surgery Is Necessary

Several surgical options are available when necessary, including:

  • Surgical drainage, in which a burr hole is made through the skull and suction is used to remove the liquid
  • Craniotomy, in which a section of skull is opened to remove a large hematoma

Recovery after a brain injury can be prolonged. In adults, most recovery takes place within the first six months after the injury. Children usually recover faster and more completely than adults. Our team will follow your progress and help you make decisions about your ongoing treatment.