Munson Health
Closed Head Injury

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by Neff DM

(Traumatic Brain Injury)



A closed head injury is trauma to the head that causes the skull and brain to knock or shake. Internal damage can occur to the:
  • Skull
  • Brain
  • Blood vessels
  • Layers between the skull and scalp
This damage can cause swelling or pressure on the brain. The injury can be throughout the brain and skull; or it can be in one region.
Often times, the head injury is minor. However, it can serious and life threatening. It requires care from a doctor.


You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. You may be referred to a neurologist for special testing.
Tests may include:
  • CT scan—to make pictures of structures inside the head
  • CT angiography—to identify arterial bleeding
  • MRI scan—to make pictures of structures inside the head
  • Blood tests
  • Neurological examination
  • Neuropsychological tests
  • EEG (electroencephalogram)—a noninvasive test used to evaluate brain function
Imaging studies are not routinely done in children with minor head injuries. Your child may be observed to determine if imaging studies are needed.


American Academy of Neurology

Brain Injury Association of America



The Brain Injury Association of Canada

Ontario Brain Injury Association



American Academy of Pediatrics. The management of minor closed head injuries in children. Pediatrics. 1999;104:1407-1415.

Closed head injury. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated April 29, 2009. Accessed May 19, 2009.

10/5/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance: Parikh SN, Wilson L. Hazardous use of car seats outside the car in the United States, 2003-2007. Pediatrics. 2010;126(2):352-357.

4/1/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance Choosing wisely. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated March 26, 2014. Accessed April 1, 2014.

5/12/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance Cantor J, Ashman T, et al. Evaluation of short-term executive plus intervention for executive dysfunction after traumatic brain injury: a randomized controlled trial with minimization. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2014 Jan;95(1):1-9.e3.


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