brain injury, types of brain injuries, injury, tbi

Types of Brain Injuries

There are two primary types of acquired brain injuries: traumatic brain injury (TBI) and non-traumatic brain injury. A TBI is a brain dysfunction that is caused by an external force, such as a violent blow, bump, or jolt to the head. A TBI can be classified as an open-head injury or a closed-head injury. An open-head, or penetrating, injury is when the scalp or skull is broken, fractured, or penetrated (i.e, a bullet going through the skull). A closed-head injury is when the skull is not broken, fractured, or penetrated (i.e., head hitting a dashboard in a car accident). 

Some common types of TBI’s are:  

Types of TBI Description 
  • Most common type of TBI that is caused by a blow to the head or violent shaking of the head and body 
  • Symptoms include: 
  • Headache or feeling “pressure” on the head 
  • Nausea or vomiting  
  • Dizziness or double/blurry vision 
  • Light and/or noise sensitivity  
  • Feeling sluggish, foggy, or confused 
  • Difficulty concentrating  
  • A bruise, or bleeding, on the surface of the brain caused by a strong blow to the head 
  • Contusions at the site of impact on the brain (coup) and the complete opposite side of the brain (countrecoup) 
Diffuse Axonal 
  • Tearing of nerve tissues in the brain that is caused by shaking or strong rotation of the head 

On the other hand, a non-traumatic brain injury is a brain dysfunction that is caused by internal factors, such as lack of oxygen, cardiac arrest, an illness, or exposure to toxins. Some most common types of non-traumatic brain injury are: 

Types of Non-traumatic Brain Injury Description 
Anoxic Injury 
  • Complete lack of oxygen to the brain, resulting in death of brain cells  
Toxic/Metabolic Injury 
  • Occurs after exposure to toxic substances (i.e., lead, chemical fumes, pesticides) or accumulation of chemicals produced in the body (i.e., kidney failure) 
  • Inflammation of the brain due to a bacterial or viral infection 
Brain Tumors 
  • A mass or growth of abnormal cells in the brain  
  • Inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord (meninges) that is caused by a bacterial or viral infection  
  • Sudden interruption in blood supply of the brain 
Drug Abuse 
  • Can cause damage, injury, or death of brain cells and deprive oxygen to brain tissue 
  • Abnormal buildup of fluid in the cavities deep within the brain  



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