About Brain Injuries

Here you will be able to find all you need to know about brain injuries and how to find a brain injury lawyer.

Treatment for TBI

Anyone with signs of moderate or severe Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) should receive medical attention as soon as possible. Because little can be done to reverse the initial brain damage caused by trauma, medical personnel try to stabilize an individual with TBI and focus on preventing further injury. Primary concerns include insuring proper oxygen supply to the brain and the rest of the body, maintaining adequate blood flow, and controlling blood pressure. Imaging tests help in determining the diagnosis and prognosis of a TBI patient. Patients with mild to moderate injuries may receive skull and neck X-rays to check for bone fractures or spinal instability. For moderate to severe cases, the imaging test is a computed tomography (CT) scan. Moderately to severely injured patients receive rehabilitation that involves individually tailored treatment programs in the areas of physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech/language therapy, physiatry (physical medicine), psychology/psychiatry, and social support.

People with moderate to severe injuries are likely to receive treatment in an intensive care unit followed by a neurosurgical ward.  Treatment depends on the recovery stage of the patient.  In the acute stage the primary aim of the medical personnel is to stabilize the patient and focus on preventing further injury because little can be done to reverse the initial damage caused by trauma.  Rehabilitation is the main treatment for the subacute and chronic stages of recovery.

Mild Injury

Mild traumatic brain injuries usually require no treatment other than rest and over-the-counter pain relievers to treat a headache.  However, a person with a mild traumatic brain injury usually needs to be monitored closely at home and with a follow-up doctor appointment for any persistent, worsening or new symptoms.

Medications

Medications for people who have suffered moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries may include the following:

Diuretics – these drugs reduce the amount of fluid in tissues and increase urine output.  Diuretics, given intravenously to people with traumatic brain injury, help reduce pressure inside the brain.
Anti-seizure drugs – People who have had a moderate to severe traumatic brain injury are at risk of having seizures during the first week after their injury.  An anti-seizure drug may be given during the first week to avoid any additional brain damage that might be caused by a seizure.  Additional anti-seizure treatments are used only if seizures occur.
Coma-inducing drugs – doctors sometimes use drugs to put people into temporary comas because a comatose brain needs less oxygen to function.  This is especially helpful if blood vessels, compressed by increased pressure in the brain, are unable to deliver the usual amount of nutrients and oxygen to brain cells.

Acute Treatment

Acute treatment of a Traumatic Brain Injury is aimed at minimizing secondary injury and life support.  Mechanical ventilation supports breathing and helps keep the pressure down in the head.

Surgery

Surgery may be needed to minimize additional damage to brain tissues.  Surgery may be used to prevent secondary injury by helping to maintain blood flow and oxygen to the brain and minimize swelling and pressure.  Surgery may be needed to remove hematomas, repair skull fractures, and open a window in the skull to drain any accumulated cerebral spinal fluid.

Rehabilitation

Most people who have had a significant brain injury will require rehabilitation.  They may need to relearn basic skills, such as walking or talking.  The overall goal is to improve their abilities to function at home and in the community.  If the patient is placed into a rehabilitation treatment center the patient will be cared for by a team of professionals who specialize in the care of trauma victims.  Their goals are to:

  • Stabilize the medical and rehabilitation issues related to brain injury and the other injuries.
  • Prevent secondary complications. Complications could include pressure sores, pneumonia and contractures.
  • Restore lost functional abilities. Functional changes could include limited ability to move, use the bathroom, talk, eat and think.
  • The staff will also provide adaptive devices or strategies to enhance functional independence.
  • The staff will begin to analyze with the family and the patient what changes might be required when the person goes home.

 

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