head injury



Approximately 1 million patients present to hospital each year in the UK with a head injury, 90% of whom have a ‘mild’ or ‘minor’ head injury, whilst 5% have a ‘moderate’ and 5% have a ‘severe’ head injury. (Kay and Teasdale 2001).

The National Institute of Clinical Excellence, however, note that this may be an under-estimate, and that 700,000 patients attend accident and emergency departments in England and Wales each year with a head injury, and that in England in 2000/2001 there were 112,978 hospital admissions for head injury, of whom 72% were male, and 30% were children under 15 years of age. (NICE 2003).

Death from head injury in the UK has an incidence of 6-10 per 100,000 population each year, equivalent to 0.2% of patients attending accident and emergency departments for their injury. The majority of these fatalities are associated with ‘moderate’ (Glasgow Coma 9-12) or ‘severe’ (GCS 8 or below).

Adelson (1974) notes that head injuries are of particular importance in forensic medicine because:

  • the head is often targetted in assaults
  • the head can easily be injured when a person is knocked or pushed to the ground, and
  • the brain and its coverings are more vulnerable to a degree of trauma that would rarely be lethal if applied to other areas of the body.


Frontal contusions and brain swelling (CT scan)

Source: Wikipedia


assessing the severity of head injury - the Glasgow Coma Score/ Scale (GCS)







Profile (detail) made in paper by Lisa Nilsson 2011



revise your anatomy



lateral view of human skull (source: eskeletons)


Revise your anatomy of the head, brain, and skull with the help of anatomy resources on the web ..






skull anatomy ipad app - BoneBox


get this app at itunes


revise your skull anatomy - foramina and structures passing through them



neuroanatomy - introductory video



revise your neuroanatomy




blood supply to the brain


revise your anatomy - blood vessels on the base of the brain and brainstem

Source: Neuroanatomy @ the University of British Columbia (follow link for full size version)


forensic neuropathology


forensic neuropathology and associated neurology


essential forensic neuropathology


Radiology and head injury




Essential forensic neuropathology. Troncoso JC, Rubio A, Fowler D. Wolters Kluwer/ Lippincott Williams & Wilkins 2010

Buy it here ...


Bang! Bang! Maxwell's silver hammer
Came down upon her head.
Clang! Clang! Maxwell's silver hammer
Made sure that She was dead.

Maxwell's Silver Hammer. The Beatles 'Abbey Road' (1968/69)

Watch the cartoon video here

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