Intracranial bleeding: Where does the blood go?

This is not about serious bleeding that requires surgery to relieve the pressure.

I have a friend (seriously!), who was giving a horseback riding lesson. The student fell off, and smacked her head on the ground, and ended up in the ER. The doctor said that that had noticed a little intracranial bleeding, so they wanted to keep her overnight for observation. They actually kept her two days, but discharged her, feeling confident at that point that there was no serious damage.

But where does the blood go? I can’t imagine that it coagulates and that you have a permanent “scab” on your brain. Or is it just resorbed?

The way they explained it to us when my daughter was born (she was a preemie and had a grade IV intraventricular bleed into her brain – meaning there was bleeding in all four ventricles), was that it reabsorbed. If you were lucky – some kids had to have shunts to drain off the fluid. Our daughter was one of the lucky ones, despite the severity of the bleed – it did reabsorb.

One kind of white blood cell in your body is responsible for cleaning up debris. They are called macrophages. After the clot stabilizes things, the macrophages move in and slowly eat away the clot. As they do, other cells follow, dividing and helping to restore the injured tissue to nearly how it was before. Then everything is basically back to normal.