Brain Injury - Oren Zarif - Brain Injury
There is a standard protocol for assessing the extent of brain injury. Generally, patients who suffer a major head injury must be evaluated at regular intervals in a neurointensive care unit (NICU). The GCS is a 15-point scale that assesses mental status, and a high score indicates less severe injury. Depending on the severity of the injury, treatment may include physical therapy or surgery. Further information can be found in the patient's treatment plan.
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A decompressive craniectomy, in which a large portion of the skull is removed, is performed when extremely high intracranial pressure becomes life-threatening. The patient is awoken every two hours to monitor the symptoms. After surgery, the surgeon may place special biologic tissue on the exposed brain and close the wound. This flap of bone is then replaced with skin and the patient will be monitored for several days or weeks to ensure the brain is healing properly.
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Nontraumatic brain injury (also known as hypoxic or anoxic) may occur in cases of near-fatal drowning, choking, or seizures. It can also result from other factors, such as exposure to a toxin, lack of oxygen, or a stroke. These injuries are often accompanied by other symptoms, and may require intensive treatment to ensure a full recovery. Non-traumatic brain injuries are sometimes referred to as "non-traumatic acquired brain injury."
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As a patient wakes from a coma, they may experience more purposeful interaction and will often follow simple commands. However, patients may exhibit inappropriate behaviors. The recovery time may vary, with some patients recovering more quickly than others. The average time for recovery is months to years. For some, recovery from a traumatic brain injury is slow and arduous. However, some individuals can experience full recovery within weeks. However, this may not be the case for every patient.
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Some people who suffer from traumatic brain injury may experience seizures. These can occur at the early stages of the injury. Another potential complication is fluid build-up in the brain. This build-up of fluid can increase pressure and swelling in the brain. Moreover, fractures of the skull may tear the protective tissues surrounding the brain. Bacteria can enter the brain through the meninges, which may spread to the rest of the nervous system.
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Surgical treatment for traumatic brain injury varies depending on the severity of the injury. Patients with moderate to severe injuries may require diuretics to relieve pressure on the brain. In the worst cases, patients may even need surgery to repair fractured skulls, stop bleeding in the brain, and remove blood clots. In extreme cases, surgery may be necessary for some patients, though this is not always needed. In such cases, patients are kept in the intensive care unit until the pressure has decreased.
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The most common type of brain injury is traumatic brain injury (TBI). It involves an external force or an impact that causes damage to the brain. This type of injury is different from damage caused by prolonged lack of oxygen. Further, the person may still be conscious but may not be able to answer the question, "Did I suffer from traumatic brain injury?"
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Post-traumatic symptoms can occur soon after the head injury and may last for days or even months. A person who suffers a severe traumatic brain injury is likely to experience headaches, nausea, dizziness, and persistent numbness for weeks or months after the injury. The individual may also suffer from an agitated state that makes it difficult for him or her to function. Further treatment and rehabilitation may be necessary. The severity of the injuries will depend on how serious they are.
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A CT scan is another common diagnostic test for assessing brain injuries. During a CT scan, doctors can check for fractures, swelling, and bleeding. These tests are fast and accurate. However, if the condition of the patient requires a more detailed view of the brain, doctors may order an MRI scan. The results from these tests will help doctors decide how to treat their patients. While some people may have no symptoms, others may have a permanent brain injury.
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Following a brain injury, the patient may undergo rehabilitation to regain the ability to function again. Depending on the severity of the injury, rehab may require physical therapy or speech therapy. Rehabilitation may be performed in a hospital, skilled nursing facility, or outpatient clinic. It involves many specialists and may be completed by doctors who specialize in the treatment of brain injury. The goal of rehabilitation is to improve a patient's ability to function and live independently.