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MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine

I. General Principles

Head injury may result in any combination of skull fracture, parenchymal injury, and/or vascular injury. All of these have different consequences.

A. Classification of traumatic injuries.

  • Trauma may produce closed or open head injuries.
  • Injuries may be penetrating or blunt. Penetrating injuries are always open head injuries. In blunt trauma nothing penetrates through the skull, but there may be severe damage.
  • Skull fractures may be depressed or non-depressed

B. Mechanisms of damage in closed-head injury

1. Linear acceleration or deceleration of head

  • coup lesions (directly beneath impact),
  • contrecoup lesions (direct opposite the site of impact),
  • intermediary coup lesions