Michael Schumacher: Leading neurosurgeon warns on "dangerous injury"
"Brain swelling takes a number of days to reach its peak."
Last Updated: 30/12/13 1:52pm
Leading neurosurgeon Christopher Chandler said the haematoma and bruising the seven-time Formula One World Champion suffered during a skiing accident could cause "ferocious swelling".
"An intra-cranial haematoma is a blood clot, which causes swelling and pressure on the brain," said Chandler, who is a consultant with the London Neurosurgery Partnership.
"The scenario may be that he had a blood clot in his brain that required immediate removal, which would explain the surgery.
"By bilateral lesions, I suspect they mean contusions or bruising to the brain. That bruising of the brain, which you can see on a scan, causes ferocious swelling and that is really serious.
"(Cerebral) contusions are often the most significant injury. Once you remove the clot, the swelling carries on and bruising precipitates and propagates that swelling.
"If you have a brain injury with sufficient severity to cause a coma, that indicates a very serious situation. The longer a patient is in a coma, the less likely they are to make a full recovery.
"You can't say that they won't recover, and you can't say they won't be brain-damaged, but an injury such as bilateral bruising, which means on both sides of the brain, is very serious, and can be very dangerous."
The consultant continued: "Brain swelling takes a number of days to reach its peak. The brain has a rigid unyielding box around it - the skull - which allows no room for growth, making swelling very, very dangerous.
"And once that injury occurs it's a vicious circle where a little bit of swelling causes more pressure, which causes more swelling, more pressure, and it starts to accelerate and affect vital parts of the brain.
"When that happens, you are in really deep trouble, but this man received probably the best possible care that you could imagine in the circumstances.
"He had the brain injury and within minutes a team of medics were there and they airlifted him to hospital. Within half an hour he was assessed and being flown to the neurological unit in Grenoble."