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What are the different types of traumatic brain injuries?

On Behalf of | Jun 2, 2023 | Brain Injuries |

Around 58,500 people sustain a traumatic brain injury every year in Michigan. A TBI is either closed or penetrating. Nothing enters the skull with a closed injury, but an object has entered the skull in a penetrating injury.

Penetrating brain injuries

These catastrophic brain injuries involve an object, bullet or other object that penetrates the skull and damages the brain tissue. Most patients need surgery to remove the foreign object, bone fragments, or necrotic tissue.


A concussion is a common type of closed traumatic brain injury. Most concussions are mild, but experiencing multiple concussions increases your risk of future brain conditions. Bumps to the head, whether from accidents or assaults, cause the brain to jerk inside of the skull. Symptoms usually appear right after the TBI, but some people experience a delayed onset of a few days.

Coup contrecoup injuries

A coup contrecoup occurs when the brain sustains damage in two spots: the area of impact and the opposite side. These TBIs are usually more serious than concussions. Some people may have internal bleeding.

Diffuse axonal injury

It’s possible for the axons, structures responsible for transmitting nerve signals, to sustain injury from the impact. This is a diffuse axonal injury (DAI). Patients might fall into a coma and suffer from damage to multiple areas of the brain.


Bruises from the impact are contusions. They may cause internal swelling and bleeding. Contusions might occur alongside other types of brain injuries, such as hematomas and skull fractures.

Subdural hematoma

Bleeding below the hard covering of the brain is a subdural hematoma. It could cause a buildup of pressure. This is a catastrophic injury that could cause death. Subdural hematomas may occur with skull fractures and other severe injuries.

Epidural hematoma

Bleeding occurs between the skull and the outermost layer of tissue covering the brain in an epidural hematoma. This often happens with a skull fracture.

Different types of damage can occur to the brain when you experience a hit to the head. It affects your symptoms and the severity of the injury.


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