Diagnosing an intracranial hematoma can be difficult because individuals may seem fine after an injury. However, doctors generally presume that the progressive loss of consciousness after a head injury is caused by a hemorrhage inside the skull until proved otherwise.
Imaging techniques are the best ways to define the position and size of a hematoma. These include:
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- Computerized tomography (CT) scan. A CT scan uses a sophisticated X-ray machine linked to a computer to produce detailed images of your brain. You lie still on a movable table that's guided into what looks like a large doughnut where the images are taken. CT is the most commonly used imaging scan to diagnose intracranial hematomas.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. An MRI scan is done using a large magnet and radio waves to make computerized images. During an MRI scan, you lie on a movable table that's guided into a tube, or tunnel. MRIs generally aren't used as often as CT scans in the diagnoses of intracranial hematomas because MRIs take longer to perform and aren't as available.
- Traumatic brain injury: Hope through research. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/tbi/detail_tbi.htm. Accessed April 14, 2014.
- Traumatic brain injury. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Health Care Professionals. http://www.merck.com/mmpe/sec21/ch310/ch310a.html#S21_CH310_T001. Accessed April 14, 2014.
- McBride W. Intracranial epidural hematoma in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 14, 2014.
- McBride W. Subdural hematoma in adults: Prognosis and management. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 14, 2014.
- Ahn ES, et al. Intracranial epidural hematoma in children: Clinical features, evaluation and management. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 14, 2014.
- Wind JJ, et al. Bilateral subacute subdural hematomas. New England Journal of Medicine. 2009;360:e23.
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