How is traumatic brain injury (TBI) classified?

Updated: Feb 01, 2018
  • Author: Percival H Pangilinan, Jr, MD; Chief Editor: Stephen Kishner, MD, MHA  more...
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Answer

Answer

Primary injury: Induced by mechanical force and occurs at the moment of injury; the 2 main mechanisms that cause primary injury are contact (eg, an object striking the head or the brain striking the inside of the skull) and acceleration-deceleration [2]

Secondary injury: Not mechanically induced; it may be delayed from the moment of impact, and it may superimpose injury on a brain already affected by a mechanical injury [2]

Focal and diffuse injuries

These injuries are commonly found together; they are defined as follows:

  • Focal injury: Includes scalp injury, skull fracture, and surface contusions; generally caused by contact

  • Diffuse injury: Includes diffuse axonal injury (DAI), hypoxic-ischemic damage, meningitis, and vascular injury; usually caused by acceleration-deceleration forces


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