The prognosis for a diffuse axonal injury varies and can range from minimal damage to a persistent vegetative state, according to Radiopaedia.org. Patients who incur more severe axonal damage tend to take longer to regain consciousness, according to the Journal of Korean Neurosurgical Society.
A shearing force that damages axons and vessels in the brain's white matter causes a diffuse axonal injury, and it is a severe post-traumatic head injury, according to the Journal of Korean Neurosurgical Society. A diffuse axonal injury is a coma without demonstrable mass leisions that lasts longer than six hours. Motor vehicle accidents are the most common cause of diffusal axonal injuries.