SynopsisCodesLook ForDiagnostic PearlsDifferential Diagnosis & PitfallsBest TestsManagement PearlsTherapyReferences
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed


Contributors: Andrea Wasilewski MD, Richard L. Barbano MD, PhD
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed


Concussion is synonymous with mild traumatic brain injury (TBI), which is a head injury with a Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) of 13-15 accompanied by an alteration of brain function. The term concussion is also used in the medical literature to describe the constellation of symptoms following a mild TBI (ie, postconcussive syndrome).

Concussion most commonly results from direct contact injury to the head secondary to motor vehicle accidents, occupational hazards, falls, recreational accidents, contact sports, combat, and assault. Acceleration or deceleration forces can result in mild brain injury. Concussion occurs more commonly in younger patients (first 4 decades of life) and the incidence is more than 2 times higher in males than females.

Acute symptoms of a concussion occur as a result of disruption of neuronal function and include confusion and impaired awareness, amnesia, headache, dizziness, and incoordination. In the following hours to days, a postconcussion syndrome may develop, which is characterized by headaches, photophobia, phonophobia, attentional and mood disturbances, sleep dysregulation, and dizziness or vertigo. Focal neurologic deficits are uncommon and should prompt evaluation for other causes. Brain imaging in concussion is frequently normal, although imaging is imperative to rule out more severe traumatic injuries.

Related topic: pediatric abusive head trauma


S06.0X0A – Concussion without loss of consciousness, initial encounter

110030002 – Concussion injury of brain

Look For

Subscription Required

Diagnostic Pearls

Subscription Required

Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls

  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage
  • Epidural intracranial hematoma
  • Subdural hematoma
  • Cerebral contusion
  • Intraparenchymal hemorrhage
  • Skull fracture / Basilar skull fracture
  • Diffuse axonal injury
  • Somatic symptom and related disorders
  • Generalized anxiety disorder

Best Tests

Subscription Required

Management Pearls

Subscription Required


Subscription Required


Subscription Required

Last Reviewed:10/13/2019
Last Updated:02/03/2021
Copyright © 2024 VisualDx®. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2024 VisualDx®. All rights reserved.