What Are The Types Of Traumatic Brain Injuries
The severity of the head injury is determined by several different factors, such as loss of consciousness, certain neurological symptoms that happened at the time of the injury, loss of memory for the injury and time surrounding it, and abnormalities on head CT or brain MRI.
There are several different types and grades of TBI:
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How Is Traumatic Brain Injury Diagnosed
If you have a head injury or other trauma that may have caused a TBI, you need to get medical care as soon as possible. To make a diagnosis, your health care provider:
- Will ask about your symptoms and the details of your injury
- May do imaging tests, such as a CT scan or MRI
- May use a tool such as the Glasgow coma scale to determine how severe the TBI is. This scale measures your ability to open your eyes, speak, and move.
- May do neuropsychological tests to check how your brain is functioning
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Most Common Types Of Traumatic Brain Injury
The most common type of traumatic brain injury is a concussion . A concussion can occur in a number of different ways and is not usually severe, life-altering, or fatal.
While concussions often amend themselves in a matter of several days, its still important to seek out medical care if you have any concerns about your head injury.
Symptoms of a concussion include:
- Persistent headache or migraine
- Sensitivity to light or sound
- Mood or behavior changes
General Symptoms Of Tbis
Traumatic brain injuries are categorized based on their severity: mild, moderate, or severe. You may be suffering from a TBI if you have:
- Numbness in any of your limbs
If you lost consciousness at any point, hit or suffered a blow to your head, or have any of the aforementioned symptoms, be sure to tell the person who examines you. TBIs can have lasting impacts on your health and should be taken seriously. No matter how severe you think your injuries areafter an accident, immediately seek medical care. Once the adrenaline of an accident and its aftermath wears off, you may really start to feel certain injuries and bruises.
A doctor can examine you and warn you concerning symptoms that may develop in the coming days or weeks they may even perform a CT or neurological exam to better diagnose you.
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How Is A Head Injury Treated
The treatment for head injuries depends on both the type and the severity of the injury.
With minor head injuries, there are often no symptoms other than pain at the site of the injury. In these cases, you may be told to take acetaminophen for the pain.
You shouldnt take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , such as ibuprofen or aspirin . These can make any bleeding worse. If you have an open cut, your doctor may use sutures or staples to close it. Theyll then cover it with a bandage.
Even if your injury seems minor, you should still watch your condition to make sure it doesnt get worse. It isnt true that you shouldnt go to sleep after you have injured your head. But you should be woken up every two hours or so to check for any new symptoms. You should go back to the doctor if you develop any new or worsening symptoms.
You may need to be hospitalized if you have a serious head injury. The treatment you receive at the hospital will depend on your diagnosis.
The treatment for severe head injuries can include:
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How Is A Traumatic Brain Injury Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider will examine you and ask about your symptoms. They will also want to learn more about what caused the injury. Depending on the severity of the injury and symptoms, you may have:
- Neurological evaluation: A neurologist checks your memory, thinking, motor function and sensory functions .
- Imaging tests: A CT scan or MRI checks for brain bleeding and swelling.
- Blood test: The Banyan Brain Trauma Indicator looks for proteins in your blood that indicate concussion or mild TBI.
How Can I Prevent A Traumatic Brain Injury
Many TBIs arent preventable. They happen without warning due to an accident or fall. But you can take these steps to avoid some incidents that commonly cause TBIs:
- Monitor medicines: Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review your prescription and over-the-counter medications, including supplements. Be sure you know which ones might make you dizzy, sleepy and more prone to falls. You may be able to change medications.
- Have clear vision: Get regular eye exams so you can see well enough to prevent falls and injuries. Arrange good lighting at home to light the way.
- Fall-proof your home: Remove rugs that are tripping hazards. Install stair handrails and bathtub grab bars. And if you have young children, install window guards on high windows and safety gates on stairs. Be aware of toys and pets underfoot.
- Be smart behind the wheel: Buckle everyone up with seat belts, and use car seats or booster seats for children. Dont drive if youre drowsy or under the influence.
- Put on a helmet: Protect your head when you play sports like hockey or football or when you bike, skate, ski or snowboard. And wear a helmet when you ride a motorcycle, scooter, ATV or horse.
- Stay active: Activities like yoga, tai chi and strength training build muscle and improve balance.
- Use a walking assist device: Walkers and canes can help you be steadier on your feet.
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Types Of Traumatic Brain Injuries
As many as 125,000 people in the United States are rendered permanently disabled due to a traumatic brain injury every year.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 14 percent of all brain injuries that happen in the United States are the result of motor vehicle accidents. New York residents should always be aware of the risk of sustaining a head injury when involved in a car crash or other type of accident such as a fall from a scaffold or ladder. The level of care that may be needed to attend to a brain injury can be intense, especially depending upon the severity of the injury.
Closed Versus Open Injuries
The GCS number isnt the only way medical providers categorize traumatic brain injuries. Doctors usually group TBIs into two main categories: open or closed injuries.
Open injuries are also sometimes called penetrating injuries. They occur when the skull bone is breached or damaged/broken by an object. Closed injuries damage the brain through trauma but dont break or breach the skull.
Brain injuries are further divided into types such as:
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What To Do If You Have Suffered A Tbi
Traumatic brain injuries can lead to lasting or even permanent disability, both physical and cognitive. Its essential for victims of this type of head injury to pursue medical help and financial compensation if their injury resulted from another partys negligence.
Financial compensation for a TBI doesnt just include current medical costs. It also includes expected medical costs, therapy, loss of enjoyment of life, pain and suffering, and loss of future occupational opportunities.
Depending on your TBIs severity, cause, and recovery time, you will likely require more than just your medical costs covered to ensure complete healing and minimal financial stress during the process.
Can The Brain Heal Itself After Trauma
Amazingly enough, the brain does have methods of healing itself following a traumatic brain injury. Nonetheless, in most cases, these methods of healing will need to be kick-started by outside intervention.
An important example of this is in the case of neuroplasticity. Following a traumatic brain injury, neural connections in the brain can be damaged or destroyed. To make up for this damage, your brain will attempt to reroute specific neural pathways becauseit is unable to generate new neurons. If any brain functions were lost due to the damage, it is possible for these functions to be moved to other areas of the brain. Still, this isnt an automatic process.
You will have to begin utilizing repetition to reinforce and strengthen your brains new neural pathways. This is why rehabilitation can be so valuable when recovering from a traumatic brain injury. This is how your brain relearns what was lost due to the injury.
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What Is The Difference Between An Acquired Brain Injury And A Traumatic Brain Injury
An acquired brain injury is an injury to the brain that is not hereditary, congenital, degenerative, or induced by birth trauma. Essentially, this type of brain injury is one that has occurred after birth. The injury results in a change to the brains neuronal activity, which affects the physical integrity, metabolic activity, or functional ability of nerve cells in the brain. An acquired brain injury is the umbrella term for all brain injuries.
There are two types of acquired brain injury: traumatic and non-traumatic.
Traumatic Brain Injury
A traumatic brain injury is defined as an alteration in brain function, or other evidence of brain pathology, caused by an external force. Traumatic impact injuries can be defined as closed or open . Examples of a TBI include:
- Sports injuries
Non-Traumatic Brain Injury
Often referred to as an acquired brain injury, a non-traumatic brain injury causes damage to the brain by internal factors, such as a lack of oxygen, exposure to toxins, pressure from a tumor, etc. Examples of NTBI include:
What Are The Complications Of A Traumatic Brain Injury
A moderate or severe TBI can cause permanent brain damage and disabilities. People with TBIs also have a higher risk of:
In rare cases, severe head injuries or having had several moderate to severe TBIs can increase someones risk to developing Alzheimers disease, dementia, or movement disorders later in life. Reassuringly, this is unlikely to happen with a mild TBI.
Finally, chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE can occur. This is a condition that happens when someone has had several blows to the head over an extended period, such as professional athletes. This condition is in the early stages of research and is still in the process of being understood. Currently, this condition cannot be diagnosed until the brain tissue at autopsy.
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Leading Causes And Risk Factors Of Tbis
- Falls are the leading cause of TBI-related emergency room visits, accounting for nearly half of all ER visits
- Falls disproportionately affect children and older adults:
- Almost half of TBI-related ER visits among children 0-17 years are caused by falls
- 80% of TBI-related ER visits were caused by falls
What Causes Bruising And Internal Damage To The Brain
When there is a direct blow to the head, the bruising of the brain and the damage to the internal tissue and blood vessels is due to a mechanism called coup-contrecoup. A bruise directly related to trauma at the site of impact is called a coup lesion . As the brain jolts backward, it can hit the skull on the opposite side and cause a bruise called a contrecoup lesion. The jarring of the brain against the sides of the skull can cause shearing of the internal lining, tissues, and blood vessels leading to internal bleeding, bruising, or swelling of the brain.
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The 3 Different Types Of Tbis
All types of traumatic brain injury can be sorted into three overarching categories. These are:
- Closed brain injuries: these include concussions and cerebral contusions.
- Penetrating brain injuries: this type of head injury occurs when a foreign object penetrates the skull and brain tissue.
- Anoxic brain injuries: this type of TBI occurs when the brain does not get enough oxygen, resulting in brain cell death. Anoxic brain injuries may occur due to stroke, heart attack, drowning, and carbon monoxide poisoning.
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Moderate And Severe Injury
Patients with moderate injury often do not require intubation and mechanical ventilation or ICP monitoring. However, because deterioration is possible, these patients should be admitted and observed even if head CT is normal.
). Nevertheless, close monitoring using the GCS and pupillary response should continue, and CT is repeated, particularly if there is an unexplained ICP rise.
Measuring The Severity Of A Tbi
Experts frequently refer to TBI as the silent epidemic in the United States because the complications resulting from such injuries are often not readily apparent.
Doctors typically classify TBI based on the severity of the injury using a tool called the Glasgow Coma Scale . The GCS has a point system that measures various functions such as eye-opening and verbal responses. A higher number scored indicates a higher level of function, meaning the injury is less severe. The scale consists of 15 points. The four possible severity levels are:
- Mild TBI: 13-15 points
- Severe: 4-8 points
- Persistent Vegetative State: 3 points or fewer
The more severe the brain injury, the longer the time it takes to recover. Even in severe cases, recovery is almost always a possibility. Other than the above categories, there are other criteria that medical professionals use to diagnose brain injuries.
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Fast Facts On Traumatic Brain Injury
- The effect of a TBI, such as concussion, depends on the severity of the injury and where it occurs.
- It is a major cause of death and disability in the United States and worldwide.
- Causes include falls, road traffic accidents, and sports injuries.
- Symptoms include confusion, persistent headaches, convulsions, and memory loss.
- Anyone who receives a head injury, however mild, should consider seeking medical attention.
Signs and symptoms may appear at once, within 24 hours, or they may emerge days or weeks after the injury. Sometimes the symptoms are subtle. A person may notice a problem but not relate it to the injury. Some people will appear to have no symptoms after a TBI, but their condition worsens later.
The effects can be physical and psychological.
The initial physical effects include bruising and swelling. Increased pressure in the brain can cause:
- damage to brain tissue, as it presses against the skull or as one part of the brain pushes into another
- pressure on blood vessels, reducing their ability to supply the brain cells with oxygen and essential nutrients
Effect On The Gait Pattern
Classification of the gait pattern according to the Amsterdam Gait Classification: In gait type 1, the knee angle is normal and the foot contact is complete. In gait type 2, the knee angle is hyperextended and the foot contact is complete. In gait type 3, the knee angle is hyperextended and foot contact is incomplete . In gait type 4, the knee angle is bent and foot contact is incomplete . With gait type 5, the knee angle is bent and the foot contact is complete.
Gait types 5 is also known as crouch gait.
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What Are The Most Common Types Of Traumatic Brain Injury
Between closed brain injuries and penetrating brain injuries, there are numerous ways that someones brain can be traumatically injured. However, some of these injuries are more common than others. Here is a list of some of the most common types of traumatic brain injury.