About Traumatic Brain Injury
Your brain's reaction to an injury is similar to an ankle bruising and swelling after a bad fall. A minor TBI like a concussion can heal with rest and time, but more severe damage requires advanced care.
Types of TBIs
There are several ways to categorize traumatic brain injuries.
- Mild, moderate, and severe: Doctors use these terms to describe the injury based upon initial signs and symptoms, like headache, fatigue, dizziness, speech problems, sensory changes, loss of consciousness, and confusion.
- Open vs. closed: This distinction is based on whether the injury punctures the skull.
- Primary vs. secondary:
- Primary TBI refers to the initial trauma itself.
- Secondary TBI refers to how your body responds to the trauma, mainly with swelling. Because the brain sits inside the rigid space of your skull, too much swelling can choke off the brain’s supply of blood and oxygen.
Tests for a Traumatic Brain Injury
Before we treat the primary injury, we use tests to determine its severity as quickly as possible.
A a clinical evaluation includes a physical exam and a neurological exam to assess your mental status as well as language, nerve, motor, sensory, and reflex functions.
Glasgow Coma Scale
Doctors assess your level of consciousness and how well you respond to requests to open your eyes, speak, and move certain parts of your body. Higher scores indicate higher function and usually correspond with better outcomes.
CT or MRI scans help your doctors see the internal structure of your head, neck, and spine. You may also need a CT angiogram, which is a CT scan that uses injected dye to highlight blood vessels.
Through electrodes placed on your scalp, an electroencephalogram (EEG) painlessly monitors and records brain waves.
Intracranial Pressure (ICP) Monitoring
ICP monitors use a small probe inserted through the skull to measure cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and brain swelling.
Treatments for Traumatic Brain Injury
The goals of primary TBI treatment are to stabilize the patient and prevent a secondary traumatic brain injury by controlling intracranial pressure.
These can help reduce swelling, prevent seizures, and relieve pain.
Severe and sometimes moderate TBIs may require surgery to remove blood clots, create more space for brain swelling, treat skull or facial fractures, and more.
Traumatic brain injuries can cause a wide range of complications, including headaches, seizures, coma, paralysis, loss of speech, and swallowing problems. Some may resolve over time while others can be permanent.
We specialize in assessing your function and deficits and creating individualized a rehabilitation plan to restore neurocognitive and physical abilities. These efforts begin when you’re in the hospital and continue after discharge. Our rehabilitation services include experts in: