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What Are the Lasting Effects of Brain Bruising?

Confusion is one symptom of a cerebral concussion.
Brain bruising can cause bleeding in the tissues of the brain.
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 15 July 2014
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Brain bruising, also known as a cerebral contusion, can have lasting effects for hours, days, weeks, and months after an initial injury as a result of damage to the tissue in the brain. This can include post-concussion syndrome, nerve damage, and behavioral changes, among other effects. It is important for people who experience blows to the head to receive prompt treatment for brain injury, as some complications can be prevented, reduced, or eliminated with treatment. If someone sustains a blow to the head, a neurologist should conduct an evaluation, even if the patient seems fine, as it can take hours for brain damage to occur.

It is common for people with brain bruising to have what is known as a coup-contrecoup injury. In this type of head injury, there is bruising and damage at an initial point of impact, like the area of a skull that collided with a steering wheel in an accident. There is also corresponding damage on the opposite side of the skull, caused by the brain slamming against the skull after it bounced off the initial point of impact. This can lead to widespread cognitive symptoms as two areas in the brain are involved.

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When the brain is bruised, bleeding occurs in the tissues of the brain. This puts pressure on the tissue, as there is limited room for expansion inside the skull. Tissues inside the brain can be injured or killed, with damage unfolding over hours or days. A cascade of chemical reactions takes place inside the brain, leading to lasting effects after brain bruising. Prompt treatment can address some of these issues and reduce the risk of permanent damage.

After brain bruising injuries, people can experience an altered level of consciousness, seizures, headaches, behavioral changes, numbness, and tingling in the nerves, memory loss, confusion, learning disabilities, and other cognitive disabilities. Some of these changes may resolve as the patient recovers. In other cases, they can become permanent. Sometimes, they onset well after the injury; the patient may initially feel healthy, but as damage progresses inside the skull, the patient develops neurological symptoms.

In post-concussion syndrome, people experience concussion symptoms like headaches, confusion, nausea, and blurred vision for weeks or months after an initial injury. Other lasting effects after brain bruising can include the development of learning disabilities, loss of speech or other skills, and loss of coordination. Medical imaging studies may be needed to examine the brain and locate damage.

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Discuss this Article

anon354590
Post 9

My boyfriend was in a motorcycle accident. He was admitted to the hospital and after a CT scan showed the brain bleeding had stopped, he was discharged after two days.

He is now at home but he has severe head pain. He describes it as throbbing, sharp pain in his head. The discharge doctor says it's normal for his trauma. Is there anything we can do at home to help his pain?

anon338437
Post 8

After receiving a head injury, brain bruising and skull damage, it has caused me to now experience dizziness. I feel a loss of taste and smell, and hair loss. Emotionally, I feel down depressed and very tired on a daily basis. I get confused over simple, day-to-day tasks and generally feel half the person I was before I received the injury.

How long do these after effects remain, and is there any that may stay with me permanently? The medics involved in my case have all been very unprofessional, unhelpful and unapproachable concerning these questions. I would like answer and would therefore be grateful if anyone can help me out.

anon334951
Post 7

Yes, even a slap to the face can cause serious inner ear problems. A blow to the base of the skull (while underneath something and getting up, for example) can cause serious long term damage from something called the cascade effect. A blow to a child's head from a fall can cause a learning disability. As for out and out abuse, many victims don't go to the E.R., preferring to tough it out. You should go. There could be very serious long term damage that won't show up for weeks.

anon321898
Post 6

If I were hit multiple times in the skull a week ago, could the doctor still see if there's any damage? I should have just pressed charges but I didn't think anything of it until I was reading the article that said memory loss and confusion were major signs. I didn't even remember where I was. I still have a hard time remembering that part of the evening and that was about an hour after I was abused.

anon278319
Post 5

I was hit in the back of the head multiple times. I experienced confusion, light-headedness and would see white spots like I was going to pass out. The doctor said I had a lot of bruising. I couldn't control my muscle movements.

anon277746
Post 4

I fell off my horse at a horse show and hit the back of my head. I remember falling off, but not getting up. I also do not remember leaving the arena.

When I got back on my horse, I saw yellow spots everywhere and I noticed that I was dizzy. I rode in a couple more classes, still feeling dizzy. I could not, and still cannot really lie on the back of my head because it hurts. That all happened in early June. Then in mid-June, I felt dizzy again. That lasted for about two days. Then I felt dizzy again today. I'm not sure if I have a bruised brain or not. And when I say dizzy, I mean like I thought the car was moving but it wasn't and moving too fast and losing my balance. Sometimes things are spinning. And today I was sitting on the floor and got the weirdest sensation like I was sliding on the floor but it was moving with me. It's kind of hard to explain. I am not really sure what is wrong with me.

MissMuffet
Post 3

My brother had a severe brain injury after being in a road traffic accident when he was a young teenager. He was knocked off his bicycle, and the impact of a head with no helmet on the hard road surface was horrendous for him. Thankfully, despite some bleeding in his brain he dd make a decent recovery.

These days he is a keen campaigner on the subject of bike safety helmets. He wasn't wearing one at the time of his accident, largely because it was considered 'uncool'. If he can change the perceptions of other young people then the trauma he experienced will not have been in vain.

Potterspop
Post 2

@Acracadabra - That's a tricky question because technically any knock to the head could lead to bruising of the brain.

My dad is over 6 feet tall so he is always hitting his head on doors in the house, the car, shops, you name it! Because of that he is aware of the various brain injury symptoms, and he has avoided many too many trips to the ER.

Acracadabra
Post 1

I can understand seeking medical aid after a severe traumatic brain injury, say after a car crash or a fall from a decent height. But if the blow to the head was less severe, for instance if you knock it on a low door frame, is it always necessary to go get a check?

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