Traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when there is a blow, jolt or an impact to the head that interferes with the normal functioning of the brain. It can cause changes in the learning, cognitive and thinking ability of the affected person. Most of the cases need hospitalization and in some cases, it can lead to permanent brain damage or even death. TBI can be classified into mild, moderate and severe based on the severity of the symptoms and the duration of unconsciousness experienced.
A person with traumatic brain injury may experience the below symptoms usually after a few days or weeks:
The state of consciousness in TBI can be categorized as follows:
The main causes of traumatic brain injury are accidental falls and vehicle accidents. The other less common causes are:
People who are at higher risk of having traumatic brain injury are:
Traumatic brain injury is an emergency condition, which needs to be assessed quickly and treated promptly. The doctor assesses the severity of the injury based on the score of a 15-point test known as the ‘Glasgow Coma Scale’. The doctor may check the person’s ability to move the eyes and limbs and also to follow instructions and coherence of the speech. A higher score indicates low severity of the injury.
Additionally, the doctor may order for laboratory tests, such as X-rays, EEG (electroencephalogram), CT scan or MRI to examine the brain in detail for bleeding, blood clots, bruising or swelling of the brain tissue.
The doctor may also monitor the skull pressure (intracranial pressure) using a probe. This diagnostic procedure is performed to minimize any further damage to the skull due to an increase in the intracranial pressure due to swelling.
Treatment aims at preventing the worsening of brain damage. The outcome of the treatment depends on the severity of the injury.
Most cases of mild TBI do not need any extensive treatment other than over-the-counter headache medications and some rest.
Moderate to severe TBI cases need emergency treatment, which includes oxygen, blood supply, blood pressure maintenance and preventing further injuries. In case of severe injury, intensive care and rehabilitation is required.
Medications may be given to prevent secondary damage to the brain. These may include:
Surgery may be recommended in some cases to repair a fractured skull, to relieve pressure in the brain or to remove blood clots, which may increase pressure on the brain. It is not advised to involve in physical or cognitive activities for some days as recommended by the doctor.
Geeta Dutta, a patient from West Bengal got in touch with Dr Venugopal Subramaniam, Consultant Neurosurgeon at Manipal Hospitals Whitefield through the OPD clinic programme and then later was guided by him towards a craniotomy & brain tumour removal.
Manika Saha, a patient from West Bengal got in touch with Dr. Venugopal Subramaniam, Consultant Neurosurgeon at Manipal Hospitals Whitefield through the OPD clinic programme and then later was guided by him towards a brain tumour removal in Whitefield, Bengaluru which gave her vision back.
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