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The St George’s Hospital emergency department is a regional specialist centre that treats the most severely ill emergency patients from across the south of England, including patients with trauma to the brain.  We also provide outpatient clinics for patients who have been discharged from hospital.

On arriving at the emergency department, injuries that are potentially life threatening are prioritised.  When the patient has been stabilised, the emergency team will diagnose the extent of the injuries and perform any treatments that are necessary.

Diagnosis is made by clinicians performing a number of observations and using the latest state-of-the-art imaging technologies, like CT and MRI scanners.

Neurosurgery may be carried out on patients with severe head injuries.  A neurosurgeon will talk to the patient and their family about whether surgery is necessary where possible, but sometimes the injury may require immediate action and there will not be time to discuss the surgery before the operation.  In these rare cases, the surgeon will always take the time to discuss the surgery and the events leading up to the operation with the patient and their family after the operation.

Some of the reasons for emergency neurosurgery include:

  • a haemorrhage– severe bleeding inside your head, such as a subarachnoid haemorrhage, which puts pressure on the brain and may result in brain injury and, in severe cases, death
  • a haematoma– a blood clot inside your head, such as a subdural haematoma, which can also put pressure on the brain
  • cerebral contusions– bruises on the brain, which can develop into blood clots
  • skull fracture

After neurosurgery, patients are either transferred to Neuro Intensive Care or to one of our specialist neurosurgery wards.