Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.
Treatment may include:
- Ice on the area
- Antibiotic ointment and a bandage
- Stitches in the scalp to close a wound
- Being watched for a period of time for problems
In some cases, a child may need to stay in the hospital. He or she may be watched more closely for problems. A child may also need:
- Medicine to cause him or her to relax or sleep (sedation)
- Help with breathing from a breathing machine (mechanical ventilator or respirator)
- Diagnostic tests
- Referral to a traumatic brain injury specialist
A child may also need monitoring for increased pressure inside the skull. This is called intracranial pressure (ICP) monitoring. A head injury may cause the brain to swell. There is only a small amount of room for the brain to swell inside the skull. This causes pressure inside the skull to increase and can lead to brain damage.
ICP can be measured in 2 ways:
- Place a small hollow tube (catheter) into the fluid-filled space in the brain (ventricle).
- Place a small hollow device (bolt) through the skull into the space just between the skull and the brain.
In both cases, the ICP device is
inserted by the healthcare provider either in the intensive care unit (ICU) or in the
operating room. The ICP device is then attached to a monitor that gives a constant
reading of the pressure inside the skull. If the pressure goes up, it can be treated
right away. While the ICP device is in place, your child will be given medicine to stay
comfortable. When the swelling has gone down and there is little chance of more
swelling, the ICP device will be removed.
Talk with your child’s healthcare providers about the risks, benefits, and possible side effects of all treatments.