Types of brain injury

Types of brain injury in San Bernardino

Traumatic brain injury

A traumatic brain injury is an alteration of a structural, physiological, or chemical transmitter pathway as well as other brain pathology, and is caused by an external force. A post-traumatic brain injury is the alteration of the neurological function by the traumatic event. Multiple traumatic injuries can lead to chronic traumatic encephalopathy.


A concussion is the most common type of brain trauma, and can be caused by direct damage to the head, gunshot wounds, violent shaking of the head (very common in children), or force from a whiplash type injury. A concussion occurs when the brain receives trauma from an impact or a sudden momentum or movement change. The blood vessels in the brain may stretch, and cranial nerves may be damaged.


A contusion can be caused by direct damage to the head, when a bruise results in bleeding in the brain.

Coup-contrecoup injury

A coup-contrecoup injury occurs when the force impacting the head is not only strong enough to cause a contusion at the site of impact but also able to move the brain and cause it to slam into the opposite side of the skull, which causes an additional contusion.

Diffuse axonal injury

A diffuse axonal injury can be caused by a strong shake on the head, as in “shaken baby syndrome”, or by rotational forces, such as a car accident. Injury occurs when the brain lags behind the movement of the skull and causes the brain structures to tear. The tearing of nerve tissue disrupts the brain’s communication and chemical processes. This disturbance in the brain could cause brain damage or death. There are specific areas were connections can be broken within the brain substance that are indicative of a diffuse axonal injury.

Locked in syndrome

Locked-in syndrome is a rare neurological condition wherein the patient is unable to physically move any part of the body except the eyes. The patient is still conscious and able to think.

Penetrating injury

A penetrating injury occurs when a sharp object enters the brain, causing a large damage area. Penetrating injuries caused by bullets have a 91 percent mortality rate.

Acquired brain injury

An acquired brain injury is an injury to the brain that has occurred after birth and therefore isn’t hereditary, congenital, degenerative, or induced by birth trauma.

Anoxic brain injury

An anoxic brain injury occurs when the human brain doesn’t receive oxygen. Cells in the brain begin to die due to lack of oxygen.

Hypoxic brain injury

Hypoxic brain injury happens when the brain receives insufficient oxygen. A hypoxic brain injury, also called stagnant hypoxia, is caused by a reduction in blood flow or low blood pressure leading to a lack of blood flow to the brain.