A subdural hematoma is the pooling of blood (hematoma) underneath the dura (subdural), the covering of the brain. This bleeding occurs when the blood vessels that bridge the subdural space, the area between the brain and the dura, are ruptured. The condition, if left untreated, can result in an increase in the intracranial pressure (ICP), which can put pressure on the brain and produce brain damage.
Causes and Symptoms of a Subdural Hematoma
Risks associated with a subdural hematoma include conditions that can lead to cerebral atrophy—the shrinking of the brain which leads to an increase in the subdural space and an increased likelihood that the veins crossing the space will stretch and tear:
long term alcohol abuse and
Other risks include:
regular use of blood thinners (such as aspirin) and
repeated head injuries.
The most common cause of a subdural hematoma is head trauma:
motorcycle and bicycle accidents
abuse or physical violence
Symptoms may arise shortly after the accident: acute subdural hematoma, within a few days of the incident: subacute subdural hematoma, or even weeks after the triggering event: chronic subdural hematoma:
Subdural hematoma symptoms are similar to other head injury-related symptoms:
one pupil may be larger than the other
weakness on one side of the body
discernible head wound
loss of consciousness
A subdural hematoma is a medical emergency and requires immediate attention to prevent brain damage.
How Is a Subdural Hematoma Diagnosed?
Diagnosis of a subdural hematoma requires a full neurological assessment along with brain imaging. A CT scan (computed tomography) provides your doctor with cross-sectional images of the brain. An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) will give detailed pictures of your brain.
Advanced Treatments for Subdural Hematoma at NSPC
Neurological Surgery, P.C. (NSPC) has experienced, board-certified doctors who specialize in the latest minimally invasive and open procedures. As leaders in the region’s medical community, with appointments as chiefs of neurosurgery in some of New York’s best hospitals, our experienced physicians offer leading-edge treatments for serious and complex brain conditions.
Depending on whether you have an acute, subacute or chronic subdural hematoma, the first line of treatment may be medical observation and monitoring. Antiseizure medications and drugs to control the brain’s swelling may also be prescribed.
Brain surgery may be recommended to reduce the buildup of cerebrospinal fluid that causes the increase in intracranial pressure (ICP) or to remove the blood clots on the brain.
Craniotomy for Subdural Hematoma is a surgical procedure that removes a small portion of the skull to allow your neurosurgeon to suction the hematoma. If there is still bleeding, some of the vessels may be cauterized.
Burr holes are small holes that are drilled into the skull to drain the excess fluid and release pressure on the brain, preventing brain damage.
With skilled multidisciplinary teams of neurosurgeons and convenient offices in the NY area, NSPC offers world-class care for your most challenging brain conditions. As a premier neurosurgical group, NSPC offers patients the most advanced surgical and non-surgical treatments for brain and spine conditions.
NSPC neurosurgeons can talk you through the most appropriate course of action for your specific case. Get in touch today and we’ll arrange for a consultation at one of our centers in Long Island, NY.