What Is Shear Injury?

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Shear injury is a traumatic brain injury that results when white matter and white matter connections are damaged by acceleration-deceleration, rotational acceleration, or other modes of force. Neuronal axons are distorted from a biomechanical and often a physiological perspective. These white matter disconnections may lead to axonal damage and cell death. Lower motor coordination, a slowdown in cognitive processing speed, problems with language function, and problems with higher-level executive skills are all potential functional effects of these injuries.

What Is a Shear Injury?

Traumatic brain injury is a well-known term, although its lasting effects are not commonly understood. Traumatic brain injury is a blanket phrase for several kinds of head and brain injuries. Traumatic brain injury, or TBI, can be brought on by various events, such as vehicle accidents, slip and fall incidents, and previous trauma. TBI is a serious condition that can have long-term consequences. But what is a shear injury, and what are the consequences of this form of TBI?

Shear injury is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI), typically brought on by rotational pressures that weaken the connections between the gray and white matter. If you or a loved one has experienced this kind of accident, you may face a situation that will change your life and require ongoing care. You could be entitled to compensation if the negligence or carelessness of another person brought on this harm. Seeking legal counsel from Tatum & Atkinson, ‘the Heavy Hitters’ will provide you with the legal assistance you require.

What Happens In a Shear Injury?

The brain communicates by sending impulses down axons, which are bundles of nerve cells that have an appearance similar to a tightly packed bundle of electrical cables. A protective fatty coating that serves as a cushion and aids in transmitting brain impulses surrounds the axons. If the impact to the head is slight, axons can be shaken and disturbed without suffering significant harm. After you strike your head, your axons reset, which is why you feel lightheaded and confused. Larger impacts make axons shake more violently and more severely. In worst case scenarios, the axons may tear or become severed. Axonal shearing is the medical term for the sort of damage that causes severe brain damage.

Why Do Axonal Shears Occur?

Axonal shearing most frequently occurs when the brain is exposed to several impacts in varying directions. As the human brain does not fully occupy the skull, there is room for the brain to move back and forth. When the brain is violently jolted, such as in a collision, axons may become stretched and torn. This results in the severing of axons, and signals cannot travel down to the corresponding brain cells. Similar to how a broken power line may prevent you from switching on a light, a severed axon prevents brain cells from communicating with one another.

Closely Related Brain Injuries

Diffuse Axonal Injury

Diffuse axonal injury (DAI) occurs when an area of the brain loses its capacity to communicate with the rest of the brain after too many axons are destroyed. Diffuse axonal damage is the tearing of the brain’s long-spanning nerve fibers, i.e., axons, that takes place when the damage to the brain occurs as it rotates and moves inside the skull. Diffuse axonal injury frequently results in unconsciousness and damage to several brain areas. The alterations in the brain are frequently minute and may not be visible on magnetic resonance imaging or a CT scan.

Symptoms of DAI

The symptoms of this damage might vary depending on which area of the brain is affected and can include:

  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Headache
  • Dizziness and lack of balance
  • Disorientation or confusion
  • Coma
  • Unconsciousness
  • Death

DAI is an extremely serious injury that might have lasting effects. According to research, brain tissue does not mend by itself after a shearing brain injury. The brain can learn to reroute itself by using healthy parts of the brain to do the same tasks as the injured section. Chance of recovery is greater in younger patients


Axonal shearing or bruising that occurs when the brain strikes one side of the skull, is referred to as a coup injury. If the original blow to the head were sufficiently forceful, the brain would retreat into the opposite side of the skull, causing a contrecoup injury.

These lateral pressures cause axonal shearing, resulting in diffuse axonal injury. However, even without a strike to the head, the strong shaking forces of an automobile crash might result in a coup-contrecoup injury. These wounds are also present in shaken infant syndrome and serious falls.

Second Impact Syndrome

The ‘second impact syndrome’ refers to the outcome of several head traumas. It is now understood that traumatic brain injuries have cumulative consequences. There was a former belief that a “mild concussion” was nothing to worry about. A shearing brain injury or DAI may not result from a single hit, but several shearing brain injuries induce more axon damage and more extensive brain tissue loss. Anyone who has sustained several head injuries, particularly within the past year, is more likely to develop DAI later on.

How Accidents Lead To Shearing Injuries

The brain is protected in the skull by cushioning. Similar to an egg, there is a network of blood veins and connective tissue called the dura protecting the brain . The dura is insufficient protection if the skull is moved too violently or penetrated, as in a car accident or other accident.

How Can Rotating Forces Harm A TBI Victim?

The brain frequently feels rotational pressure during a TBI. Because of variations in their structural makeup, shear pressures usually manifest themselves at the cortex’s boundary between gray and white matter when this occurs. Shear forces can also come from the brain moving within the skull, much like the contents of an egg moving within its shell. Trauma-induced Shear pressures can cause structural damage to the brain. This is because the brain is one of the body’s soft organs and functions more like gelatin than a solid.

Deficiencies That May Occur Due To Shear Brain Injury

Cognitive: Cognitive deficiencies, such as persistent headaches, memory issues, difficulty speaking or understanding others, hearing loss, visual issues, a lack of attention, and an inability to focus, are a few of these side effects.

Motor Function: Deficits in motor function can include paralysis, tremors, gait abnormalities, weakness, the inability to do everyday tasks (such as brushing teeth or combing hair), and loss of balance.

Psychological: The damage and loss of function frequently result in psychological changes, including anxiety, sadness, apathy, anger, a loss of social skills, and a lack of inhibitions.

In severe circumstances, patients may need supportive care for the rest of their lives. Even in situations that appear minor, repercussions may take months or years to manifest. In the worst scenarios, the patient can end up in a vegetative state and require life support until recovering.

You could be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages (or the wages of a loved one), and the cost of ongoing treatment for the disease. Additionally, non-economic losses like pain and suffering and loss of consortium are available. Speak with an experienced brain injury attorney to learn more about which damages you or a loved one may be eligible to receive compensation for.

Shear Brain Injury Lawsuit Claims

An individual with a severe shear brain injury has a poor prognosis. The injured portion of the brain is effectively dead since the ripped axons are unable to mend. The symptoms are usually comparable to those of a severe stroke. The patient will need plenty of time to recuperate and be rehabilitated. If you or a loved one has suffered a severe brain injury due to the negligence of another party, you may be eligible for financial compensation for the ensuing damages.

Our Skilled Shear Injury Attorneys Can Assist

If you or a loved one has been in an accident and suffered a head injury, seeking medical assistance should be your top priority. Head injuries can be severe and lead to long-term complications, such as cognitive impairment, memory loss, and even permanent disability. It is crucial to get a comprehensive medical checkup, even if the symptoms seem mild, as not all injuries are immediately apparent through a CT or MRI scan. The sooner you seek medical help, the better your chances are of identifying and treating the injury.

In some cases, head injuries occur due to the carelessness or negligence of another party. If that is the case, it is vital to speak with a legal expert as soon as possible. A personal injury lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and options, including filing a claim against the responsible party.

Long-term medical effects of diffuse axonal injury (DAI) injuries can be severe and can affect your ability to work and live a normal life. It is essential to seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages if your injury was caused by someone else’s careless actions. You and your family should not have to suffer financially because of someone else’s negligence.

Do not be reluctant to contact Tatum & Atkinson, “the Heavy Hitters,” a prominent North Carolina  traumatic brain injury law firm, for a free consultation. Call (800) 529-0804 or send us a message online to set up your private case review right away. We are here to assist you in obtaining the compensation you deserve for your damages and medical expenses.

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