Pediatric minor traumatic brain injury

Semin Pediatr Neurol. 2006 Dec;13(4):243-55. doi: 10.1016/j.spen.2006.09.005.


The literature surrounding minor traumatic brain injury is complex, methodologically challenging, and controversial. Although we lack a consistent standardized definition, the annual rate is likely in excess of 200 per 100,000 children. The proportion of children with minor traumatic brain injury who will require neurosurgery is certainly <1%. Several studies are underway that have the potential to significantly advance our understanding of the specific risk factors for intracranial injury and more specifically neurosurgical injury. The mortality within children is very low, with estimates of 0% to 0.25%. Virtually all studies of the prognosis of minor brain injury in children have reported no long-term behavioral or cognitive sequelae as a specific result of the brain injury. Symptoms fall in 4 domains: somatic, cognitive, sleep/fatigue, and affective. Limited pediatric studies are available to assist clinicians in the prognosis or in optimizing recovery. Until further studies are available, a conservative approach is recommended. Children with suspected concussions should be removed from activity and observed. Children with symptomatic concussions must be limited to no physical activity. Adolescents and families need to self-monitor symptoms and limit environments or circumstances that exacerbate any symptoms. When symptoms resolve, a gradual progressive return to play is currently recommended. The recurrence risk for subsequent concussions is elevated, but there is limited documentation of the effectiveness of preventative efforts. Much remains to be learned.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain Injuries / diagnosis
  • Brain Injuries / epidemiology
  • Brain Injuries / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Pediatrics*