Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Traumatic Brain Injury or TBI for short is an injury to the brain that generally occurs from severe external force.  Overall, there can be several classifications of a TBI due to the fact that this type of injury is quiet broad. The different elements which can include a TBI vary from the severity, whether the injury is an open or closed injury, or even can be classified as a TBI based on any injury to the brain. Usually, any external force that causes a TBI results in severe injury, disability, or even death. Below is a description of the types of a traumatic brain injury, the general causes and symptoms, treatment, and prevention.

Types of TBI:

There are three major types of TBI: Closed Brain Injury, Open Brain Injury, and Acquired Brain Injury.

Closed Brain Injury

This type of TBI occurs when an object has struck the head but the skull did not crack. The injury is within the brain making it a closed brain injury.

Open Brain Injury

Open brain injury is therefore the opposite of closed meaning that the object that struck the head has caused damage to the skull exposing it making it an open brain injury.

Acquired Brain Injury (ABI)

An acquired brain injury (ABI) include all the types of ABIs in addition to injuries such as strokes, lock of oxygen to the brain, alcohol or drugs, and disease. As stated earlier, there are several types of classifications that can result from a traumatic brain injury. Doctors generally look at two things when they start treating a patient, severity and pathological features. The severity of the injury is classified as a mild, moderate, or severe with each word progression describing a worse injury. Doctors also gauge the severity by the amount of alertness or consciousness on behalf of the individual by using a Glasgow Coma Scale. Many times they use this as a jumping off point since it does not predict outcomes. If the individual has any motor skills or reaction to stimuli, they know the injury isn’t too bad and they can assign an injury based on a scale of 3-15.  Mild injuries usually fall under 13-15 ranking, moderate fall under 9-12, and severe injures cover 8-3 on the scale. Recently, several other scales for measuring injury are available to help predict outcomes such as the Post-Traumatic Amnesia test and the Loss of Consciousness test. Pathological features include the diagnosis of the exact spot of injury, hemorrhaging (internal bleeding), or lesion that has been created in the skull. Doctors will try to determine the accident as one of two types: focal or diffuse injuries. Focal injuries classify the injury to one specific part of the brain while diffuse injuries classify the injury to multiple areas. Focal injuries usually result from an object striking an individual, while diffuse injuries occur by continuous injury from multiple parts of the brain.

General Causes and Symptoms of TBI:

Most of the time, traumatic brain injuries occur or are caused from being in some sort of violence, car accident, or experiencing some sort of extreme force to the head.  While all injures are severe, most traumatic brain injuries occur from being too rough or being put in a situation with high speeds and lack of protection.  Car accidents can cause a TBI, as can impact from sports. The symptoms of a TBI aren’t always the same, but in general symptoms include:

  • Unconsciousness:  Any amount of unconsciousness could suggest a type of TBI. Those who are drifting in and out of consciousness, tend to have injuries to their left lobe.
  • Headaches and dizziness:  This may suggest a type of bleeding in the brain or the inability for your brain to compute correctly.
  • Nausea: Many individuals cannot eat or drink, and if they do they become severely nauseous and unable to function properly.
  • Emotional/ Social:  Individuals will sometimes become very moody and out of control. They may seem different from their regular selves.

Treatment of TBI:

If an individual is thought to have experienced a TBI they are typically rushed to the hospital to determine what they can do in the first hour.  The sooner the doctors can operate or provide support to the injury the sooner they can get the individual back on their feet or prevent more damage. While every injury is different, doctors want to do as much as they can to bring the patient back to consciousness or prevent disability. After they have stabilized the patient they will usually place them in an intensive care unit in the neurological ward.  Once the patient has stabilized further, doctors will usually suggest some type of rehabilitation to help them regain their motor skills.

Prevention of TBI:

Individuals should constantly try to be safe and protect their heads in all cases.  If you are playing sports be sure to have the correct protective gear for your body and your head. While you are driving, make sure you are wearing your seat belt and you are sitting in your seat correctly.  If you are coming into contact with anything that could hurt you, be aware and alert. The most important part of TBI are that many occur from elements that you cannot prevent or control. If you are injured in an accident and have sustained a TBI due to someone’s recklessness, give us a call at Christensen & Hymas for a free consultation; 801-506-0800.

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