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Diffuse Axonal Injury

By

Gordon Mao

, MD, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

Last full review/revision Jun 2021| Content last modified Jun 2021
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Topic Resources

Typical Structure of a Nerve Cell

A nerve cell (neuron) consists of a large cell body and nerve fibers—one elongated extension (axon) for sending impulses and usually many branches (dendrites) for receiving impulses.

Typical Structure of a Nerve Cell

The usual causes of diffuse axonal injury include falls and motor vehicle crashes. Diffuse axonal injury can occur in the shaken baby syndrome Physical abuse Child neglect is withholding essential things from children. Child abuse is doing harmful things to children. Some factors that increase the risk of child neglect and abuse are poverty, drug... read more Physical abuse , in which violent shaking or throwing of a baby causes brain injury. As a result of diffuse axonal injury, brain cells may die, causing brain swelling, increasing pressure within the skull (intracranial pressure). Increased pressure may compound the injury by decreasing the blood supply to the brain.

Diffuse axonal injury typically causes loss of consciousness that lasts for more than 6 hours. Sometimes the person has other symptoms of brain damage. Increased pressure within the skull may cause coma.

Computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is usually done to detect diffuse axonal injury.

Treatment of diffuse axonal injury is similar to treatment of other head injuries Treatment Head injuries that involve the brain are particularly concerning. Common causes of head injuries include falls, motor vehicle crashes, assaults, and mishaps during sports and recreational activities... read more . For example, doctors make sure that breathing and blood pressure are adequate and take steps to keep pressure within the skull from increasing too much.

Surgery is not helpful.

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Fractures of the Jaw and Midface
Fractures to one or more facial structures can result from a single injury. Jaw fractures may occur to the mandible, or lower jaw, or to the maxilla, bone of the upper jaw. Other structures susceptible to fracture include the eye sockets, nose, and cheek bones. Which of the following facial structures is most likely to fracture if a person falls from a great height or hits the windshield of a car face-first during a motor vehicle accident?
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