Ferrari has issued a new statement on Felipe Massa’s condition this morning. It says that “after undergoing an operation yesterday afternoon, Felipe’s condition remains stable and there were no further complications through the night. He will be given another CT scan today, which will provide more precise information.”
From what we can gather independently of Ferrari, Massa has suffered from significant cerebral contusions, which in effect means bruising of the brain tissue. The danger of this is that there will be pressure within the skull, which can be very damaging and dangerous. This is presumably the reason that the medical staff at the hospital used the description “life-threatening” that led to a media frenzy in the course of the night. There is no doubt that the injuries are still dangerous and will be for some days until the brain returns to normal at which point it will be possible to begin to ascertain whether any permanent damage has been done. It is very hard to predict such things. In the interim the doctors are going to keep Massa in intensive care with constant monitoring the pressure within the brain. There is always a danger of blood clots in such circumstances and so traditionally the patient is given drugs to thin the blood. As previously mentioned it is quite normal for doctors to leave the patient in an induced coma and on a respirator in order to artificially hyperventilate him. This reduces the carbon dioxide in the blood and helps the brain to reduce in size.
In extreme cases the swelling can be relieved with an operation.