Traumatic brain damage occurs when brain function is impaired by external mechanical action. Traumatic brain damage usually occurs as a result of a severe impact or shock to the head or body. Penetration into the skull of an object, such as a bullet or a fragment of the skull, can also cause a traumatic brain lesion. A mild traumatic brain lesion may cause temporary dysfunction in the brain cells. A more severe traumatic brain injury may result in hematoma, ruptured tissue, bleeding, and other physical brain damage leading to remote complications and even death.
Immediately or shortly after a traumatic brain lesion, some complications may develop. Severe lesions increase the risk of developing more complications or more severe complications.
Changed state of consciousness
Moderate and severe traumatic brain lesion can cause lasting or irreversible changes in the patient’s state of consciousness, his mental orientation and ability to respond to external stimuli. The following states of consciousness are highlighted:
- Coma. A coma means that the person is unconscious, unaware of anything, and unable to respond to any stimuli. This is due to the extensive damage to all parts of the brain. After a period of days to weeks, a person may come out of a coma or fall into a vegetative state.
- Vegetative state. Due to extensive brain damage, a person may fall into a vegetative state. Despite the fact that a person is not aware of the world around him, he can open his eyes, make sounds, respond to stimuli reflexively and move. It is possible that the vegetative state may become irreversible, but patients often achieve a waking coma.
- An awake coma. An awake coma is a state characterized by a strong distortion of consciousness, but there are phenomena that indicate that the patient has some degree of self-consciousness and awareness of the environment. This condition is often transitional between comas or vegetative states to a more pronounced recovery.
- Syndrome of “environment”. A person with environment syndrome is aware of their surroundings and awakens, but cannot speak or move. A person can communicate through eye movements and blinking. This condition is accompanied by the lesion of the brain stem. After an injury, this condition is rare.
- Convulsions. Some people with traumatic brain injury have convulsions during the first week. Some serious injuries can lead to recurrent seizures – the so-called post-traumatic epilepsy.
- Accumulation of fluid. In some cases, with traumatic brain injury, cerebrospinal fluid may accumulate in the cavities (ventricles) of the brain, resulting in swelling and increased pressure in the brain.
- Infections. Pearl bones of the skull and penetrating wounds may tear the protective tissue layers (brain shells) surrounding the brain. This creates the conditions for bacteria to penetrate the brain, resulting in infection. In the absence of treatment for brain envelope inflammation – meningitis – can spread to the entire nervous system.
- Damage to blood vessels. In traumatic brain damage may damage several small or large blood vessels of the brain. Such damage can lead to stroke, blood clots and other disorders.
- Damage to the nerves. Injuries to the base of the skull can lead to damage to the nerves that depart directly from the brain (cranial nerves). Most people who have suffered serious brain injury, there is a change in thinking (cognitive) ability. Traumatic brain damage can cause multiple abilities to be impaired.
- Difficulties in communication. After a traumatic brain injury, there are often speech and communication difficulties. These problems cause frustration, conflict and misunderstanding in people with traumatic brain injury, as well as in their relatives, friends and caregivers.
- Changes in the emotional nature.
- Violations of the sense organs.
Traumatic brain damage increases the risk of diseases leading to gradual dystrophy of brain cells and gradual loss of brain functions.