What is Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
It is abrupt damage to the brain caused by a jolt or blow to the head. The most common causes include motorcycle or car crashes, sports injuries, falls, and assaults. These injuries can vary from a mild concussion to severe, lasting brain damage. Treatment for a mild traumatic brain injury can include medication and rest, but severe traumatic brain injury could require intensive care and surgery. The injured who survive a TBI can face life-altering effects in their mental, physical, emotions, and personality.
How does a TBI happen?
During a car accident, the impact causes the brain to crash back and forth inside the skull. This causes bleeding, bruising, and can tear nerve fibers. It can cause confusion and memory lapse, blurry vision, and dizziness, or even loss of consciousness. Immediately following the car accident, a person may appear fine, but the brain can undergo a delayed trauma. As it swells, it pushes itself against the skull, which reduces the flow of oxygen-rich blood. This secondary injury can be more damaging than the initial impact injury.
TBIs (Traumatic brain injuries) are classified according to the severity and method of injury:
Mild TBI – the person is awake and eyes open. Typical symptoms can include disorientation, memory loss, brief loss of consciousness, confusion, and headache.
Moderate TBI – the person appears lethargic – eyes can open to stimulation. Typical symptoms include loss of consciousness from 20 minutes up to 6 hours. Varying degrees of brain swelling or bleeding, sleepiness, but can be induced to awake.
Severe TBI – the person is unconscious – eyes will not open, even with stimulation. The person is unconscious for more than 6 hours.
Types of traumatic brain injuries
A concussion is a mild head injury that may include a brief loss of consciousness; this usually does not cause permanent brain injury.
A contusion includes bruising of the brain due to impact. It can appear either directly under the area of impact (called coup injury) or opposite the area of impact (called contrecoup injury.
A diffuse axonal injury (DAI) causes shearing and stretching of nerve cells. This happens while the brain is forced back and forth, damaging the nerve axons. Nerve axons connect nerve cells similar to running cables or telephone wires throughout the brain. When damaged, it disrupts the brain’s transmission of information, resulting in loss of consciousness.
A traumatic Subarachnoid Hemorrhage (tSAH) is when little arteries tear during impact, bleeding into the area that surrounds the brain. This area is usually filled with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) that acts as a floating cushion that protects the brain.
A hematoma is a clot that forms when a blood vessel bursts. As blood escapes the bloodstream, it starts to thicken and clot. Clotting is generally good as it is the body’s way of stopping the bleeding. Hematomas can be small, or they grow large. Large hematomas can compress the brain. Over time the body will absorb the clot, but occasionally surgery is performed to remove large clots.
A person that suffered a TBI likely has a combination of injuries, making it difficult to answer which part of the brain was injured. The answer is usually multiple areas that have different levels of injury severity.
A secondary brain injury is the result of inflammation, the body’s response to the primary injury. The body’s natural response to injury it to send extra fluid and nutrients to the injured area. Under normal circumstances this response is good, but the brains rigid skull has limited space available and distributes the fluid, increasing pressure on areas of the brain not injured in the accident.
How Rare are TBIs
TBIs are not rare, approximately 1.5 to 2 million adults and children are diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) every year in the U.S. Of the 2 million, about 235,000 will be hospitalized for moderate to severe head injuries. Unfortunately, approximately 50,000 will die from their injury.If you have been injured in an accident and suffer from a traumatic brain injury, you will most likely need the assistance of an experienced TBI attorney to secure adequate compensation. Call the injury attorneys in Lake Charles LA at Lundy Lundy Soileau & South for a free case evaluation.
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