Medical Terms – Traumatic Brain Injuries

Anoxic Brain Injury

An anoxic brain injury occurs when the brain does not receive any oxygen. Drowning, electrical shock, choking, strokes, heart attacks, toxins, disease and extremely high altitudes can cause anoxia. The long term prognosis is entirely dependent time which the brain has been deprived of oxygen.

Brain Contusion

Brain contusions are traumatic brain injuries that are usually caused by a blow to the head, such as those that could be expected to occur as a result of a slip and fall, a car accident, a motorcycle accident, a bicycle accident or a pedestrian accident. Brain contusions result when the brain slams against the sharp ridges on the interior of the skull which results in a bruise to the brain tissue.

Closed Head Brain Injury

A closed head brain injury is a traumatic brain injury caused by a blow to the head or a violent motion which causes the brain to slam against the inside of the skull. Closed head brain injuries can be classified as focal, meaning the damage is limited to one discrete area of the brain, or diffuse, meaning that they affect brain cells and tissues throughout the brain. Prognosis for a closed head brain injury is dependent on the severity of the injury.

Concussion

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury. Concussions alter the manner in which the brain functions. These alterations are sometimes temporary, but recent studies have shown that concussions can cause permanent brain damage and emotional issues. A concussion is usually caused by blow to the head, but can also be caused by a violent shaking of the head and upper body. Whiplash type injuries suffered in a rear end car collision have been known to be accompanied by concussion symptoms.

Depressed Skull Fracture
A compound fracture involves a break in, or loss of, skin and splintering of the bone.

Coup-Contrecoup

Coup-Contrecoup is a traumatic brain injury. It is essentially a brain contusion that has brain bruising both at the site of the impact and on the complete opposite side of the brain.

Depressed Skull Fracture

A depressed skull fracture is a break in a cranial bone (or “crushed” portion of skull) with depression of the bone in toward the brain. A skull fracture will be accompanied by a concussion or other more serious injuries to the brain.

Diffuse Axonal Injury

A diffuse axonal injury occurs when the brain moves inside the skull tearing nerves and other brain structures. The easiest situation in which to imagine a diffuse axonal injury is shaken baby syndrome. However, diffuse axonal injuries can be caused by a car accident. The long term prognosis of a person suffering a diffuse axonal injury depends upon the area of the brain affected. Permanent impairments are to be expected.

Glasgow Coma Scale

The Glasgow Coma Scale is a testing tool used by medical professionals to evaluate the seriousness of traumatic brain injuries. The medical professionals evaluate the level of consciousness on a scale of 3 to 15. The chart below indicates how each patient is evaluated using the Glasgow Coma Scale. A score of 3 is profoundly unconscious, while 15 is normal.

Hypoxic Brain Injury

Hypoxic brain injuries occur when the brain is partially deprived of oxygen. The most common causes of hypoxia are near drowning, choking and strangulation. The level of permanent damage is dependent upon the time for which the brain was deprived of oxygen.

Linear Skull Fracture

A linear skull fracture is a break in a cranial bone resembling a thin line, without splintering, depression, or distortion of bone. A skull fracture will be accompanied by a concussion or other more serious injuries to the brain.

Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

A mild traumatic brain injury is classified as an injury that results in a loss of consciousness and/or confusion/disorientation that lasts for a period of less than 30 minutes. Even though it is called a mild traumatic brain injury the long lasting and permanent effects on the injured person and their family can be truly devastating.

Moderate Traumatic Brain Injury

A moderate traumatic brain injury is a term used when a person experiences changes in brain function for longer than a few minutes following trauma. Symptoms may similar to a mild TBI, but the symptoms do not go away or may even get worse.

Open Head Brain Injury

As the name implies, an open head brain injury, sometimes called a penetrating brain injury, results when an object penetrates the brain. An easy example of an open head brain injury is a gun shot to the head. However, open head wounds can be expected to occur as a result of a slip and fall, a car accident, a motorcycle accident, a bicycle accident or a pedestrian accident. In an accident situation, it will likely be caused by a blow to the head and be called a skull fracture, in which a piece of the skull bone penetrates the brain. Survivors of an open head brain injury are very likely to have long term cognitive losses and other medical issues such as post-traumatic epilepsy.

Severe Traumatic Brain Injury

A severe traumatic brain injury is defined a brain injury resulting from trauma in which a loss of consciousness for a period of more than 30 minutes and a Glasgow Coma Score between 9 and 12. Severe brain injuries will cause permanent cognitive impairments, as well as issues with vision, speech and hearing. Emotional disorders are also common effects of severe traumatic brain injuries.

Simple Skull Fracture

A simple fracture is a break in the bone without damage to the skin. A skull fracture will be accompanied by a concussion or other more serious injuries to the brain.

Skull Fracture

The skull is a very sturdy and comprised of 8 bones which protect the brain. However, the impact of a slip and fall, a car accident, a motorcycle accident, a bicycle accident or a pedestrian accident can actually break the skull. A skull fracture will be accompanied by a concussion or other more serious injuries to the brain.

Traumatic Brain Injury

A traumatic brain injury is an injury to brain which causes either temporary or permanent changes in the manner in which the brain functions. It can range from a classification of mild to severe.

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