Whether you are recovering from your own brain injuries caring for an injured loved one, you can easily be overwhelmed with new medical terms. Coup and contrecoup are just a couple of the terms you may hear or read, and that the doctors may not have explained. Both refer to contusions which are bruises. They do not indicate the severity of the injury, the region of the brain affected or what functions may be affected.
What do Coup and Contrecoup Mean?
Coup is bruising of the brain at the site where the head was struck if there was a blow to the head. If there was no blow to the head, it is where the brain first struck the inside of the skull. Coup injuries can occur with no blow to the head when there are great forces that snap the head back and forth, such as whiplash in a car accident or a body blow while playing sports.
Contrecoup is bruising on the opposite side of the brain from the initial impact. It happens when the brain is slammed back into the inside of the skull on the opposite side of the head after a blow to the head or after the initial impact with the inside of the skull in acceleration/deceleration injuries.
Coup-contrecoup simply means that both coup and contrecoup injuries are present.
The Danger of Contrecoup
Alone or in coup-contrecoup, contrecoup injuries often go overlooked. And when they go overlooked, treatment is delayed. Brain contusions can involve bleeding and swelling which need to be treated as quickly as possible. As time passes the damage continues to progress.
If you are recovering from a brain injury or are caring for a loved one with brain injuries, Smith Stag can help. Please call us at 504-593-9600 or email us today to schedule your free consultation.