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Head Injury

Head Injury - What it is


What Is Head Injury?

Traumatic brain injury, or more commonly called “head injury”, is a broad term that describes a variety of injuries and damage to the scalp, skull, brain and underlying tissue and blood vessels in the head.

Almost everyone in his or her lifetime sustain some form of trauma to the head. Elderly, babies and those with problems such as alcohol abuse, anti-coagulants therapy are especially prone to serious consequences after a head injury. In Singapore, head injury is the leading cause of disabilities and deaths in adults under 40 years of age. As a result, it has significant impact on the brain-injured patient, family and society.

Types of Head Injury

Head injury can be mild-to-severe in nature, and damage to the brain may occur immediately at the time of injury, or develop after the injury due to swelling or further bleeding. The common types of head injury include:

  • Scalp injury: Refers to the bump, cuts and lacerations of the scalp. Treatments include cold compression and suturing.
  • Skull fracture: Refers to the break or crack in the skull bone.
    • Linear skull fracture: Treatment is usually conservative as it does not cause many problems.
    • Depressed skull fracture: Cused by direct impact onto the skull, which caused the shattered bones to be pushed into the brain. Antibiotics and surgery to prevent further brain injury, bleeding and infection may be needed.
  • Concussion: A "shake" to the head. Most people recover without any permanent damage. Symptoms such as headache, giddiness, nausea, vomiting etc may persist, but will get completely better over time. Treatments include medications for symptom relief and adequate rest.
  • Contusion: A "bruise" that may cause tissue damage and bleeding.
  • Haematoma: (Blood clots): Refers to the collection of blood in one or several locations of the brain. Treatments for contusion and haematomas include observation for worsening of symptoms to removal of blood clots. Prognosis depends on the type, size and effect of the lesions on the brain.

Head Injury - How to prevent?

Head Injury - Preparing for surgery

Head Injury - Post-surgery care

Head Injury - Other Information

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