The main difference between a concussion and contusion is a contusion is localized and macroscopic, whilst a concussion is wise-spread and microscopic.
Contusions and concussions are both injuries to the brain with contusion being generally regarded as more serious than a concussion. A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury where there is no resulting brain damage, but simply a disturbance in brain function as opposed to actual interference within the structure of the brain, the main symptoms of which are headaches and dizziness.
However, a contusion is actually a deep bruising to the brain tissue which can cause haemorrhaging, the evidence of which can be found in the spinal fluid. In cases of a concussion and a contusion the injured person can lapse into unconsciousness, however in the case of a contusion there are other accompanying symptoms such as blurred vision, disorientation, unsteadiness whilst walking, vomiting and slurred speech, which can ultimately develop into a coma.
After a concussion the person is usually nursed in bed and monitored for the possible development of additional symptoms, however they should be symptom free within three weeks. The incidents and cases of concussion are generally under reported, therefore there are no accurate records concerning the frequency of concussions although it is believed that there are 6 in every thousand cases of concussion annually.
One common pattern of a contusion is a ‘coup-contracoup’ which occur when a moving head stops abruptly and the brain bash against the inner surface of the skull causing it to bruise. Severe injury also occurs in the ‘coup’ this is when the brain bounces back bashing the opposite side of the brain against the skull. In cases of concussion, there are no outward physical signs apart for the patient complaining of dizziness and headaches. However, with a contusion there is often oedema around the sockets of the eye, brought about be intracranial pressure and the squeeze of brain tissue, with the worst swelling occurring between four to six days after the injury. Cerebral swelling is a serious condition and may be life threatening, which needs immediate medical intervention.
Computed Tamography (CT) and Magnet Resonance Imaging scans (MRI) are the most efficient ways to ascertain the extent of the damage, although the CT scan is the diagnostic tool preferred by physicians.
Recovery from a concussion takes a few days or perhaps a few weeks. Whereas, a contusion is a permanent injury and the outcome ultimately depends on the site and extent of the damage. With a certain amount of luck, a contusion although slow to heal, can heal in time, however it often leaves residue damage which can be frustrating for the victim who may have to go through the process of re-learn numerous lost asa result .