What is a Coup Contrecoup Brain Injury?

Brain injuries are some of the most common types of injuries sustained by accident victims. From mild concussions to traumatic brain injury, brain injuries can cause numerous side effects and long-term impairments. Examples of causes of brain injury include, but are not limited to:

There are many more ways that a person can suffer a brain injury. There are also many different types of brain injury. Coup Contrecoup brain injuries are just one type of traumatic brain injury that can cause serious and long-term effects for an accident victim.

What are Coup Brain Injuries?

A coup brain injury results from a blow or  strike to the head. It is a non-penetrating brain injury, which can make it difficult to diagnose because there may be no outward sign of trauma to the head. A person can sustain a coup injury from almost any type of accident that results in the head striking a hard surface.

The damage to the brain occurs directly beneath where the head struck the hard object. There could be swelling, bruising, or cuts at the site of the impact, but not always.

Coup injuries range from mild to traumatic. They may also result in bleeding within the skull or brain, which can lead to life-threatening injuries.

What are Contrecoup Brain Injuries?

With a contrecoup brain injury, the location of the damage to the brain is on the opposite side of the initial impact. The force of the impact causes the brain to shift violently within the skull. It is as if the blow to the head “pushed” the brain, causing it to strike the opposite side of the skull.

Diagnosing contrecoup brain injuries can be challenging. Physicians may focus on the area of the brain where the impact occurred. They may not examine the opposite side of the brain for damage.

A contrecoup brain injury may also range from mild to traumatic. However, left untreated, a mild contrecoup brain injury could become life-threatening.

What are Coup Contrecoup Brain Injuries?

Coup contrecoup brain injuries occur when both sides of the brain are damaged from a blow. There is brain damage directly below the blow to the head, but the brain shifted, so there is also damage directly across from the impact to the head. 

The severity of the brain damage could be different on each side of the brain. Doctors perform tests to determine the severity of each area of injury to develop a treatment plan that encompasses all damages to the brain. 

Diagnosing Coup Contrecoup Injuries?

Any brain injury can result in serious complications and permanent disabilities. Without proper treatment, the risk of permanent impairments may increase.

Doctors use a variety of tests and procedures to diagnose a brain injury. Initially, the physician performs a physical examination and rates the patient on the Glasgow Coma Scale. The doctor may also use a variety of imaging tests to help identify brain injuries, such as MRIs and CT scans.

If there is swelling in the brain, the doctor may insert a probe into the brain to monitor the swelling. Shunts can be used to relieve pressure in some cases.

Further testing may be required to determine the severity of the injury and the effects of the injury on various functions. Language, speech, neuropsychological, and cognition tests may be performed to assess the effects of the brain injury. 

What are the Effects of a Coup Contrecoup Brain Injury?

The effects of a coup contrecoup brain injury depend on numerous factors, including the location of the injury, the severity of the injury, treatment, and the person’s overall health. As with other brain injuries, a person may recover fully from a coup contrecoup brain injury. Other individuals may suffer long-term effects including but not limited to:

  • Coma or vegetative state
  • Seizures
  • Infections
  • Chronic headaches
  • Vertigo
  • Intellection problems, including problems related to cognitive functions and executive functioning 
  • Problems with speech and communication
  • Behavioral and emotional changes
  • Sensory problems
  • Increased risk of degenerative brain diseases, including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia

The cost of a coup contrecoup brain injury can be substantial. Medical treatment, personal care, and rehabilitative care can cost millions of dollars, especially in cases involving long-term impairments. Many patients required counseling and therapy to help them learn how to cope with a brain injury and the changes to their quality of life.

If another party caused your brain injury, you could be entitled to compensation for the financial costs of treatment and care. You could also be entitled to compensation for your pain, suffering, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life. A brain injury attorney can evaluate the case and explain your legal rights.

The money from a personal injury claim does not undo the damage caused by a coup contrecoup brain injury. Still, it can provide the necessary medical, physical, and emotional care you need as you continue to recover from a severe brain injury.