Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Penetrating TBI

  • Samantha BackhausEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_265


Brain injury; Head trauma; Open head injury


A penetrating head injury occurs when an object pierces through the skull, enters the brain tissue, and may or may not exit. It is often referred to as an open injury.

Current Knowledge


The amount of damage is typically determined by the impact or velocity of the object that enters the brain. Many penetrating head injuries are caused by puncture wounds, missile fragments or shrapnel, or low-velocity bullets. These types of injuries are more likely to produce focal lesions and can typically have more predictable outcomes. Such injuries typically occur in war and military settings. Penetrating injuries can also cause shock waves and exert pressure throughout the brain tissue, causing more global damage.


In missile injuries, air is compressed in front of the penetrating object causing an explosive effect as the fragment enters the brain tissue. It typically causes injury not only at the location it has...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References and Readings

  1. Adams, R. D., Victor, M., & Ropper, A. H. (1997). Craniocerebral trauma. In R. D. Adams, M. Victor, & A. H. Ropper (Eds.), Principles of neurology (6th ed., pp. 875–901). New York: McGraw-Hill Companies.Google Scholar
  2. Lezak, M. (1995). Neuropsychological assessment (3rd). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Vinas, F. C., & Pilitsis, J. (2006). Penetrating head trauma. Retrieved 26 Dec 2007 from http://www.emedicine.com/med/topic2888.htm

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NeuropsychologyRehabilitation Hospital of IndianaIndianapolisUSA