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January 1965

Contrecoup Injuries of the Brain in InfancyRemarks on the Mechanism of Fatal Traumatic Lesions of Early Life

Author Affiliations

From the Coroner-Medical Examiner's Office, Los Angeles County, and the Department of Pathology (Cajal Laboratory of Neuropathology), Los Angeles County Hospital.

Arch Surg. 1965;90(1):157-165. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1965.01320070159033

THE TERM "contrecoup" has long been associated with the mechanism of craniocerebral injury. Its first use was in reference to the occurrence of "contrecoup" fracture by Hippocrates,1 in which a linear fracture appears opposite the point of a traumatic impact. It was used in this sense from the 16th to the 19th centuries.2 It is not clear exactly when the term was applied to soft tissue contusions, but contrecoup lesions were the subject of numerous contributions by French surgeons during the middle of the 18th century.3 Here the matter rested until the early 20th century when the treatise of Le Count and Apfelbach4 on automobile injuries of the head and brain again called attention to the subject.

This principle of "contrecoup" as it concerns the mechanism of cerebral contusions has been used by the writer in several contributions.5-10 In accord with the observations of Le

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