What is a cranial trauma?
A cranial trauma more or less means a violent shock to the head, and it concerns the skull. It is the main cause of death for people under the age of 45 years old.
Symptoms of a cranial trauma
There are three types of cranial traumas which depend on the seriousness of the cerebral injuries.
- Mild cranial trauma or concussion: this refers to a shock to the brain which leads to poorly functioning brain cells. It rarely involves a fracture to the skull and loss of consciousness is immediate and short lived. It causes headaches and dizziness after the shock. The risk of intracerebal haemorrhages is minor and recovery is very often positive.
- Moderate cranial trauma or bruising on the brain: This involves an initial loss of consciousness accompanied by amnesia from the trauma. It leads to a brain oedema in the wound or on the other side of the brain. Following the shock, the patient may suffer from cephalgia, nausea, uncontrollable vomiting or epileptic fits.
- Serious cranial trauma: This is characterised by an immediate, deep coma (valued at a minimum of level 8 on the Glasgow scale). This can last between several hours to many days. The risks of long-term consequences are much greater.
Causes of cranial trauma
The majority of head injuries are the result of accidents on public highways (car accidents, falls). They can also come about from sporting activities or household chores (roofs or ladders falling down for example).
Physical violence can also lead to craniocerebral injuries.
Consequences of cranial trauma
A cranial trauma can cause numerous complications if the injuries are serious. The main consequences which can occur are physical after-effects (motor function problems, coordination, swallowing), sensory (visual or auditory difficulties), cognitive (problems with concentration, memory, mental slowness) or psychological. In more severe cases, patients can suffer from a syndrome of unresponsive wakefulness.
Treating cranial traumas
First and foremost, a brain scan is necessary to determine the level of brain damage. Urgent neurosurgery is quite often required in order to remove the blood which is present in the cranium in the case of haemorrhage. If the patient is suffering from a coma, neurological monitoring is carried out in an intensive care unit.
Once the patient has overcome the acute phase, they may need to go to a specialised centre to help rehabilitate them from the damage caused by the trauma.