What Is A Concussion?

Have you ever wondered "What is a Concussion?"

Concussion is a term that is often used by laypersons and the media but without a real clear understand of what it means. Most literally, it means that a persons head has been "concussed", meaning that it has received a blow. However, to neurologists and neurosurgeons, a concussion is a blow that results in some symptoms associated with the injury to the nervous system but without a visible (on brain scans) disruption of the brain.

A blow to the head alone is not a concussion. To be called a concussion there must be some neurological symptoms that follow the injury. This may be a brief loss of consciousness but can include other symptoms such as confusion. The severity of symptoms depend on the severity of the trauma, ranging from mild and transient to some long-term symptoms that can persist for years. However, it should be noted that if the injury was severe enough to cause visible injury to the brain (swelling, bleeding, etc.) then these injuries are not called a concussion.

If on subsequent scanning (typically a CT scan) the patient is found to have any identifiable injury to the brain (bleeding, swelling, etc.) then this is not considered a concussion.

To read more about concussion and how it is diagnosed, see the Concussion page.

Return to the Brain Injury page from the What Is A Concussion page.

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Important Note: This site is not intended to offer medical advice. Every patient is different, and only your personal physician can help to counsel you about what is best for your situation. What we offer is general reference information about various disorders and treatments for your education.

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