Proper diagnosing TBI is crucial.
Before providing treatment, emergency medical personnel must assess the severity of a brain injury by determining if the injured person can follow directions by blinking his eyes or moving her extremities. Also whether or not a person speaks coherently will provide important clues.
Imaging tests such as skull and neck X-rays can check for bone fractures or spinal instability. CT scans can uncover evidence of hemorrhaging in the brain, large blood clots, and bruised brain tissue.
Fewer than half the people who suffer severe traumatic brain injuries need surgery to remove or repair the damaged portions of their brains. In some cases, collection of blood between the skull and the brain must be surgically drained.
Surgery can be performed to drain the excess fluid that has accumulated in reaction to the trauma itself. While swelling is a natural reaction for body tissue that has been injured, it can cause additional damage to the brain by increasing the pressure inside the skull. Medications also can be used to decrease this pressure.
Most people who have had a significant brain injury will require rehabilitation by relearning the basics like walking or talking. There are many different treatments and specialists that a brain injury patient may require, including a speech pathologist, physical therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, occupational therapy, medication regimens, and a variety of rehabilitation services. The economic and social impact of brain injuries, even mild traumatic brain injury, can be devastating and life altering.
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The overall goal is to improve the lives of people with TBI by rehabilitating them so they have the ability to function at home and in the community.