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Epidural vs. Subdural Hematoma: What’s the Difference?

Knowing the difference between epidural and subdural hematomas in traumatic brain injuries is essential for patient care and recovery.

Understanding the crucial differences between epidural and subdural hematomas is paramount in ensuring optimal patient care and outcomes in cases of head trauma. Preferred Attorneys logo

As legal professionals, we at the Brain Injury Law Center understand the pivotal decisions that are made when a diagnosis is identified. Once a brain injury is diagnosed, it significantly impacts the treatment strategies and prognostic assessments for patients.

In this article, we delve into the importance of discerning between epidural and subdural hematomas. If you suffered either of these injuries due to someone else’s negligence (as in a car accident), or were harmed by medical misdiagnosis after your initial injury, reach out to us.

Contact the Brain Injury Law Center at (757) 244-7000 for a free consultation to discuss your situation, your needs, and what we can do to help improve your future.

Definitions: Epidural Versus Subdural Hematoma

Let’s establish some medical definitions between these two traumatic brain injuries (TBIs):

  • An epidural hematoma is a type of bleeding that occurs between the skull and the outermost covering of the brain, known as the dura mater.
  • A subdural hematoma refers to bleeding between the dura mater and the arachnoid membrane, which is a layer beneath the dura mater.

An epidural hematoma is typically caused by a head injury that leads to the rupture of an artery, resulting in blood accumulation between the skull and the dura mater. This type of hematoma can lead to increased pressure within the skull, potentially compressing the brain tissue and causing neurological symptoms.

In contrast, a subdural hematoma occurs when veins between the dura mater and the arachnoid membrane are damaged, causing blood to collect in this space. Subdural hematomas can be acute or chronic, with acute cases often developing rapidly after a head injury and chronic cases evolving more gradually.

The key distinction between these two types of hematomas lies in their location within the layers surrounding the brain. Epidural hematomas are outside the dura mater, while subdural hematomas are between the dura mater and the arachnoid membrane. This difference in location can influence the clinical presentation, management, and prognosis of these injuries.

The Difference Between Epidural Hematoma vs. Subdural Hematoma

Here’s a more detailed comparison between epidural and subdural hematomas:

  • Location of Bleeding:
    • Epidural Hematoma: Bleeding occurs between the skull and the dura mater, which is the tough outermost membrane covering the brain.
    • Subdural Hematoma: Bleeding occurs between the dura mater and the arachnoid mater, which is a delicate membrane beneath the dura mater.
  • Cause:
    • Epidural Hematoma: Typically caused by a traumatic head injury that tears an artery, leading to rapid accumulation of blood.
    • Subdural Hematoma: Often results from head trauma that causes the tearing of veins between the dura mater and the arachnoid mater. It can be acute (rapid onset) or chronic (slow accumulation over time).
  • Symptoms:
    • Epidural Hematoma: Symptoms may include a brief loss of consciousness followed by a period of lucidity (clear consciousness), then deterioration of consciousness as the hematoma expands, along with other signs of increased intracranial pressure.
    • Subdural Hematoma: Symptoms vary based on the type (acute or chronic) and may include headache, confusion, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, weakness, seizures, and neurological deficits.
  • Imaging Findings:
    • Epidural Hematoma: Typically appears as a biconvex (lens-shaped) hyperdense collection on CT scans.
    • Subdural Hematoma: May present as a crescent-shaped hypodense (dark) area on CT scans, with acute hematomas showing higher density compared to chronic ones.
  • Treatment:
    • Epidural Hematoma: Requires urgent surgical intervention, such as a craniotomy, to evacuate the hematoma and control bleeding.
    • Subdural Hematoma: Treatment depends on the severity and type of hematoma. Acute cases may also require surgery, while chronic cases may be managed conservatively or with surgery if necessary.

Understanding these differences is crucial for medical professionals and legal experts dealing with cases involving head injuries, as they can have significant implications for diagnosis, treatment, and long-term outcomes.

Patients with an epidural hematoma can remain conscious with minimal symptoms, can become drowsy, or can progress to a coma immediately following their injury based on the size of the hematoma. A subdural hematoma occurs when the bleeding exists inside the dura, but still outside the brain. The difference is crucial to avoid misdiagnosis and medical malpractice.

Contact the Brain Injury Law Center at (757) 244-7000 if you or a loved one suffered a hematoma due to someone else’s negligence, or received inadequate treatment that worsened your condition. Compensation may be available for your recovery.

What Compensation Is Available in Epidural or Subdural Hematoma Lawsuits?

Compensation in an epidural or subdural hematoma case typically involves financial recovery for various damages incurred by the injured individual. These damages may include:

  • Medical Expenses: Compensation can cover the costs of medical treatment, including emergency care, hospitalization, surgery, rehabilitation, medications, and ongoing medical care related to the hematoma.
  • Lost Income: If the hematoma leads to temporary or permanent disability, the injured person may be entitled to compensation for lost wages, including past and future income that they are unable to earn due to the injury.
  • Pain and Suffering: This category of damages accounts for the physical pain, emotional distress, and mental anguish experienced as a result of the hematoma and its consequences. It aims to provide compensation for the non-economic impact of the injury on the individual’s quality of life.
  • Disability and Impairment: Compensation may be awarded for permanent disabilities or impairments caused by the hematoma, such as cognitive deficits, motor function limitations, sensory deficits, or other long-term health complications.
  • Funeral Expenses and Wrongful Death: If the hematoma results in the death of the individual, their surviving family members may be entitled to compensation for funeral and burial expenses, as well as damages for the loss of financial support, guidance, and companionship.

The specific amount of compensation in an epidural or subdural hematoma case varies depending on factors. These may include the severity of the injury, the extent of the damages, the impact on the individual’s life, and the legal and medical evidence presented in the case.

It’s crucial for individuals affected by these injuries to seek legal representation from experienced personal injury attorneys who can assess their case. We will help you determine the potential losses and advocate for fair compensation on your behalf.

Contact Proven Brain Bleed Injury Lawyers

A lawyer can play a critical role in cases involving epidural or subdural hematomas by providing legal guidance, advocacy, and support in several ways.

We can conduct thorough investigations to gather evidence, and enter into negotiations with insurance companies, healthcare providers, and other parties involved in the case. We also may use our connections and resources to consult with medical experts, including neurologists, neurosurgeons, and other specialists on your behalf to build a strong case.

Our attorneys navigate complex legal processes so you don’t have to. This includes filing legal documents, complying with statutes of limitations, and adhering to court procedures. We ensure that all legal requirements are met and deadlines are followed. If a fair settlement cannot be reached through negotiations, we are also ready to represent you in court proceedings such as trials or hearings.

A skilled lawyer proven in personal injury and medical malpractice litigation can provide invaluable assistance in epidural or subdural hematoma cases. If you need an advocate by your side, contact us at (757) 244-7000 for a free consultation. One call can lead to just compensation for your losses and provide for a better future.

Related Resources

If you found this epidural and subdural hematoma content helpful, please view the related topics below:

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