What Is a Subdural Hematoma?

Subdural HematomaA subdural hematoma is bleeding on the brain that occurs due to a serious brain injury. This condition can negatively impact a person’s life in various ways. For example, depending on how serious the brain injury and bleeding is, the individual could have lost necessary functions within the brain and body, lost much needed income from being out of work, and incurred expensive medical bills and expenses.

If you experienced a subdural hematoma because of an accident caused by someone else, it is essential to reach out to a Mississippi traumatic brain injury lawyer at your earliest convenience to learn about your options to obtaining the justice and compensation you deserve.

What happens if you have a subdural hematoma?

If a medical professional determines that you have a subdural hematoma, this means that there is blood located between the two layers of tissue around your brain, called the dura and the arachnoid membrane. Most of the time, subdural hematomas cause intense inflammation, swelling, and pressure, which can be dangerous and life-threatening. Folks who have bumped or struck their head on an object or surface during an accident should visit a licensed medical professional as soon as possible. The doctor can document their symptoms and order tests to determine whether a traumatic brain injury or bleeding is present on the brain.

What are the classifications of subdural hematomas?

There are two general classifications for subdural hematomas: acute, which occur as a result of traumatic injury and are the most dangerous type, and chronic, which can take months to appear. Some medical associations and organizations, such as the Mayo Clinic, recognize a third type of subdural hematoma, subacute, which falls in between acute and chronic.

While all cranial hematomas should be treated seriously, acute subdural hematomas are life-threatening. Seeking medical assistance as soon as possible can be the difference between survival and death.

Can you get a subdural hematoma without head trauma?

Even though acute subdural hematomas happen because of some type of head trauma, there is a possibility that a subdural hematoma can occur spontaneously. Here are some of the factors that can increase your chances of having a subdural hematoma without any type of head trauma:

  • Chronic or long-term alcohol drinking
  • Very young age
  • Very old age
  • Taking medications that cause blood thinning, such as aspirin
  • Having medical conditions or illnesses that affect how your blood clots
  • Previous head injuries

Can you fully recover from a subdural hematoma?

You can fully recover from a subdural hematoma. According to the Cleveland Clinic, some people tend to feel better and experience less symptoms within a few weeks or months. However, if the subdural hematoma is severe, there is the possibility that some people will never completely heal or have normal brain function like they did before the injury.

What are the odds of surviving a subdural hematoma?

The odds of surviving and making either a full or partial recovery from an acute subdural hematoma is 20 to 30 percent. When a person is diagnosed with a severe subdural hematoma, the mortality rate is between 50 to 90 percent. The reason for this is because the traumatic brain injury itself or the pressure and swelling from the bleeding can quickly become fatal. Therefore, the sooner that you can get medical assistance and begin the necessary treatment tailored to your condition, the higher chances you will have of surviving.

How do you treat a subdural hematoma?

The treatment for a subdural hematoma can vary based on severity, medical history, and other factors. If your subdural hematoma is small or minor, the doctor will likely recommend plenty of rest, relaxation, medications, and observation. If your subdural hematoma is severe and life-threatening, they will likely recommend surgery to help reduce the pressure and stop the bleeding. Per the Cleveland Clinic, three of the most common surgeries for a subdural hematoma include:

  • Craniotomy: During a craniotomy, a large portion of the skull is removed, which gives the surgeon a better look at the subdural hematoma. The doctor can access the subdural hematoma, repair it, and reduce the pressure. Then, the portion of the skull is put back once the craniotomy is completed.
  • Craniectomy: When a person has a craniectomy done, the portion of the skull that is removed is left open for a certain time frame. This gives the brain time to react to the brain injury and bleeding by swelling without severe damage occurring. Craniectomies are considered to be lifesavers, but they can also cause alarming complications, such as infections, water on the brain, blood clots, and more.
  • Burr hole trephination: Those who undergo a burr hole trephination have a hole drilled into their skulls, which is located directly over the subdural hematoma. Once the hole is successfully drilled, the surgeon will suction or absorb the blood through the hole, relieving the brain from intense pressure.

What are the signs of a worsening subdural hematoma?

Sometimes, people who have subdural hematomas have no signs or symptoms whatsoever. However, if you do have symptoms, visit your local emergency room or primary care physician right away. Some of the signs that may indicate that your subdural hematoma is becoming worse are:

  • Severe and recurring headaches
  • Trouble talking or communicating
  • Vision issues
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Inability to walk or get around
  • Feeling nauseous or vomiting
  • Feeling very weak
  • Memory problems
  • Mood swings
  • Seizures
  • Paralysis
  • Coma
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Breathing issues

Can a subdural hematoma bleed again?

Subdural hematomas can bleed again. If a person had surgery to repair their subdural hematoma, the chance of the subdural hematoma bleeding again is between 2 to 37 percent. It is important to know that when bleeding occurs again, it is usually “patient related, radiologic, or surgical.” A few of the factors that may put your subdural hematoma at risk of bleeding again are:

  • Seizures
  • Alcohol use
  • Significant subdural air
  • Higher-density hematomas
  • Greater midline shift
  • Poor post-surgical drainage

If you or a family member suffered a subdural hematoma due to someone’s negligent behavior in an accident, a Mississippi traumatic brain injury attorney from Merkel & Cocke, PA can help. Complete our contact form or call ua to schedule a free initial consultation at one of our offices in Oxford, Greenville, Jackson, or Clarksdale today.