Cerebral contusions are bruises of the brain secondary to trauma.


Types of contusions:

(1) hemorrhage (including hematoma)

(2) necrosis

(3) tear


Contusions may occur:

(1) related to the area and line of the impacting force

(2) unrelated to the area and line of impact (independent of the direction of impact)


Location Along the Line of Impact


surface contusion beneath the area of impact, directly caused by the impacting force


surface contusion on the side opposite the side of impact, occurs along the line of impact

intermediary coup

contusion in a deeper brain structure located along the line of impact


Contusions occurring in a location away from the line of impact:

(1) fracture contusion (associated with skull fracture)

(2) gliding contusion (cortical lesions along frontal or central convolutions that cannot be explained by the area or direction of the impacting force)

(3) herniation contusion (lesions in the cerebellar tonsils and medulla caused when these structures impact the foramen magnum)


Head Injury



blunt object to movable head


none or small

fall with head impacting flat surface

none or small


fall with head impacting sharp or pointed surface (corner, edge, etc.)


none or small


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