aim. to provide a summary of the different experimental models of traumatic brain injury (tbi) designed under both in vivo and in vitro conditions. a comprehensible review of the specific types of brain lesions induced, as well as the technical details to reproduce each model at the laboratory is given. development. outcome of patients suffering from a tbi has significantly improved with the rapid application of vital supporting measures in addition to a strict control of blood and intracranial pressure at the intensive care units. however no specific treatment for post-traumatic brain lesions has proven as efficacious in the clinical settings. a deeper knowlegde of the physiopathological events associated with tbi is necessary for the development of new specific therapies. due to the heterogeneity of the human tbi, each experimental model has been designed to reproduce a different type of brain lesion. experimental tbi models allow the study of the dynamic evolution of brain injuries under controlled conditions. usefulness of experimental models is limited by their reliability and reproducibility among different researchers. small rodents have been the preferred animals to reproduce tbi injuries, mainly due to the similar cerebral physiology shared by these animals and the human beings. conclusion. the use of experimental models of tbi is the most appropiate tool to study the mechanisms underlying this type of injury. however their simplicity precludes an exact reproduction of the heterogeneous cerebral damage observed in clinical settings. this could be the main reason for the discrepancies observed in the therapeutic effects of treatments between experimental and clinical studies.