Alternate Names : Tentorial Herniation
A brain herniation occurs when a part of the brain pushes downward
inside the skull through the opening that leads into the neck.
What is going on in the body?
The brain is supported within the skull by a horseshoe-shaped
piece called the tentorium. There is an opening in the tentorium where the
brainstem connects to the brain. This is where most herniations occur.
Conditions that cause swelling in the brain or increased pressure in
the skull can cause brain tissue to be pushed into this opening. This is
called a herniation. For instance, if there is a mass, such as a tumor, in
the head, the brain will swell. Since the skull is rigid, swelling will force
the brain into the area of least resistance. This would be the hole in the
center of the tentorium. The swelling may result in the brain shifting from
its usual position to an abnormal position in the skull.
What are the causes and risks of the condition?
Anything that causes swelling in the brain might lead to herniation.
Some common causes include:
bleeding in the brain. Examples of bleeding in the brain are
or subarachnoid hemorrhage.
from a blow to the head or other trauma
Brain herniation can cause severe brain damage or even death.
The brain tissue that is being squeezed through the opening and the brainstem
tissue can be permanently damaged. The ability to breathe, keep the heart
beating, be alert, and think can all be damaged.