Understanding the Difference Between Concussions and Cerebral Contusions

When dealing with brain injuries, it is important to understand the differences between various types of injuries that can occur. Two of the most common types of brain injuries – concussion and cerebral contusions – are often confused. A contusion is another way to say bruise and is the bleeding on the brain due to localized trauma. A concussion refers to more widespread brain trauma from a blow to the head or swift shaking. Many assume that a concussion is just a more severe form of a contusion, but that is not the case. These two injuries are different in many ways. If you’ve sustained a brain injury as a result of someone else’s negligence, reach out to our injury lawyers in Nashville.

How are these two injuries related?

Both concussions and cerebral contusions are considered forms of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and can be sustained in a variety of ways. This can include car accidents, assaults, slip and fall accidents, sports incidents, and more. Anytime a person sustains a severe blow to the head or is violently jarred, they can experience a concussion or a contusion of the brain.

The symptoms of a cerebral contusion

A cerebral contusion is a minor or major bruise on the brain and can lead to various medical consequences for the victim. Contusions are generally more localized injuries of the brain, affecting only the bruised space. Depending on the severity of the cerebral contusion, a victim may not have any symptoms at all. However, more serious contusions can result in the following:

  • Changes in cognition, personality, or reductions in intelligence
  • Memory challenges
  • Difficulty understanding speech
  • Difficulty coordinating movements
  • Localized numbness or tingling
  • Problems with attention
  • Difficulty speaking

The symptoms of a concussion

Concussions occur when a larger portion of the brain is affected and can even result in several contusions inside of the skull. Not all concussions produce immediately visible symptoms, and not all of them require medical care. However, concussions can become life-threatening injuries if the blow to the head was significant. Some of the symptoms of a concussion include:

  • Changes n behavior, memory, or attention
  • An intense headache, pressure in the head, or feeling of fullness in the head
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Sleepiness, confusion, or feeling “in a fog”
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Slurred speech
  • Trouble remembering the event that caused the injury
  • Difficulty understanding conversations
  • Difficulty responding to questions

In many cases, the signs and symptoms of a concussion are immediately apparent. However, they may not show up until hours or even days after the injury.

Proper diagnosis of a contusion or a concussion

If a person has sustained a blow to the head, and there is a suspected TBI, they should seek medical care immediately. If they do not seek medical care after the injury, they should do so as soon as any of the above signs or symptoms occur. A doctor will need to use a CAT scan or an MRI to properly check for signs of bruising or swelling of the brain and make a correct diagnosis.

Concussions and cerebral contusions are easier to treat when they are recognized soon after an injury. Failing to properly treat these injuries in a timely manner can result in long-lasting or permanent disabilities due to brain damage. Those who suffer from a concussion or cerebral contusion should not return to vigorous physical activity until a doctor gives them the go-ahead to do so. If you have additional questions, reach out to our Nashville brain injury attorneys.