Numbers and types of injuries and procedures
The cheek and jaw had the highest number of head injury diagnoses per hospitalisation, with an average of 2.1 diagnoses per hospitalisation (Table 11). This was followed by intracranial injuries (2.0). Cheek and jaw injuries also had the highest average number of procedures per hospitalisation (2.3).
Head diagnoses per hospitalisation
Procedures per hospitalisation
Cheek and jaw
Eye and orbit
Scalp and skull
Lip and oral cavity
Other, multiple and incompletely specified head regions
Source: AIHW National Hospital Morbidity Database.
267,000 procedures were conducted for 142,000 head injury hospitalisations during 2020-21 – approximately 2 procedures per hospitalisation. A person can have multiple procedures during their hospital stay:
- 43% of cases (61,300) had multiple recorded procedures
- just over 2 in 5 head injury hospitalisations (41%) did not have any procedure carried out (Figure 17). Most of these were for same-day discharges – short stays in hospital less than a day (66%).
Figure 17: Number of head injury hospitalisation procedures by sex, 2020–21
Stacked bar chart showing that for both males and females, the most common number of head injury procedures was zero.
As the number of head injury diagnoses increased, the proportion of hospitalisations requiring multiple procedures also increased. Over half of hospitalisations with more than two head injuries required multiple procedures. This increased to 88% in cases with 6 or more head injuries.
Nerve injuries had the greatest proportion of hospitalisations requiring more than one procedure (85%), with over a quarter of nerve injuries requiring 11 or more procedures (25%).
Types of procedures
The top classified procedure type was Dermatological and plastic procedures (Figure 18). However, most procedures for head injury hospitalisations are grouped under Interventions, not elsewhere classified (69%). These broad procedure types were most commonly differentiated into the following blocks:
- generalised allied health interventions (mainly physiotherapy), recorded in 39% of hospitalisations (55,700) representing 49% of procedures (131,000)
- cerebral anaesthesia (31,400 hospitalisations and 34,100 procedures)
- repair of wound to skin structures (14,700 hospitalisations and 15,500 procedures).
Figure 18: Top 10 head injury hospitalisation procedure types by sex, 2020–21
An interactive chart illustrating the top procedure types, and top procedure blocks within each type. Butterfly chart showing the top 10 procedure types, and that dermatological and plastic procedures was the top procedure type for males and females. Males had more procedures than females across all procedure types.