Accurate radiographic diagnosis is a cornerstone of the clinical management and outcome prediction of the head-injured patient. New technological advances, such as multi-detector computed tomography (MDCT) scanning and diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) have influenced imaging strategy. In this article we review the impact of these developments on the neuroradiological diagnosis of acute head injury. In the acute phase, multi-detector CT has supplanted plain X-ray films of the skull as the initial imaging study of choice. MRI, including fluid-attenuated inversion recovery, gradient echo T2* and diffusion-weighted sequences, is useful in determining the severity of acute brain tissue injury and may help to predict outcome. The role of MRI in showing diffuse axonal injuries is emphasized. We review the different patterns of primary and secondary extra-axial and intra-axial traumatic brain lesions and integrate new insights. Assessment of intracranial hypertension and cerebral herniation are of major clinical importance in patient management. We discuss the issue of pediatric brain trauma and stress the importance of MRI in non-accidental injury. In summary, new developments in imaging technology have advanced our understanding of the pathophysiology of brain trauma and contribute to improving the survival of patients with craniocerebral injuries.