Understanding Acceleration and Deceleration Brain Injuries
Acceleration and deceleration brain injuries are types of primary brain injuries that could result from different types of accidents, including car crashes. Varying degrees of damage can occur with these injuries.
How Acceleration and Deceleration Brain Injuries Develop
There are two main types of traumatic brain injuries (TBI), depending on the nature of the injury and the extent of the damage. These are noted as primary and secondary brain injuries. Primary brain injuries develop immediately and involve mechanical forces, while secondary brain injuries result from other forces and may develop following primary injuries.
Acceleration and deceleration brain injuries are primary brain injuries that result from sudden movements of the head when unrestrained, leading to strains that can cause serious damage. High-speed vehicle accidents often cause acceleration and deceleration brain injuries in the form of whiplash.
Following an accident, one of three types of damage could develop in acceleration and deceleration injuries. These include:
Diffuse Axonal Injury
This damage affects the white matter in the brain, which comprises axon bundles that connect different areas of the brain. These injuries result from certain forces that stretch, twist, or tear these axon bundles. Unfortunately, diffuse axonal injuries are often microscopic, which makes them difficult to detect through traditional neuroimaging methods.
On the other hand, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) equipment may detect these injuries in more serious cases.
Focal contusions entail bruising or swelling that takes place in specific areas of the brain. They can take the form of coup injuries, involving bruising that develops in the area directly affected by the injury. They can also develop into contrecoup injuries that entail bruising on a part of the brain opposite to the site of impact. Meanwhile, coup-contrecoup injuries lead to bruising on both sides of the brain.
In some cases, hematomas or bleeding may develop. Different types of hematomas could occur as a result of a TBI, leading to fatalities. An epidural hematoma may develop, which results from the rupture of a middle meningeal artery and temporal bone fractures, causing rapid bleeding around the brain. Subarachnoid hematomas result from blood vessel damage that develops in the posterior cranial fossa.
These and other TBIs make it important for injury victims to seek immediate medical treatment in the event of an accident. Seeking treatment could help prevent serious injuries and death.