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"What is a closed head injury?"


What is a 'closed head injury'? My daughter was just in a bike accident, and her doctor had her hospitalize for a 'closed head injury'. Is this the same as a concussion, or are we talking about a more serious problem? I can't get a straight answer out of anybody.


Recently the language about head injuries in children has been changing, and this has created some confusion for parents. If you need to discuss this issue in more detail, you may do so with your pediatrician at any time. The short answer is that a 'concussion' and a 'closed head injury' are basically the same thing! Closed head injury is a term used to describe any injury to the head that does not result in skull fracture.

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Therefore, most of these injuries are less serious than those that involve skull fracture. Concussion refers to the constellation of symptoms associated with these head injuries, which include headache, confusion, memory problems, vomiting, and other neurological symptoms. Your daughter must have been hospitalized because her pediatrician thought her symptoms were serious enough to deserve some close watching. Generally hospitalized children with concussion are sent home in a few days if no fracture or brain bleeding is identified. However, they do require close monitoring by a doctor, as all the symptoms of concussion sometimes do not resolve for weeks. As always, the management of your daughter's head injury should be by the physicians who were involved in assessing and examining her. Scheduling appointments with them to followup after her discharge from the hospital is highly recommended.

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