Diagnosing a Brain Injury

head x-rays to diagnose a brain injury

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when a traumatic event occurs and causes damage to the brain. Thousands of people sustain brain injuries every year and they're more serious than you think.

If you've suffered a brain injury from a slip-and-fall accident, a car crash, sports, assault, or other types of accidents, get in touch with our law firm today. You may have a case and could get the compensation you deserve for your injuries. The brain injury attorneys at our law firm are skilled in dealing with these cases—so don't wait.

Diagnosing a brain injury can be very complicated. Symptoms range from headache and dizziness for mild brain injuries, to repeated vomiting and coma for severe traumatic brain injuries. There are several tests physicians use to diagnose a traumatic brain injury, and brain injury recovery varies with each person.

Read more on brain injury diagnosis:

Types of Brain Injuries

There are several different types of brain injuries:

  • Open Head Injury – An open head injury can involve penetration of the skull. In other words, an object goes through the skull and can injure the brain. Typically, the damage will occur in the area where the object penetrates the skull. Injuries can include a skull fracture in addition to brain damage.
  • Closed Head Injury – A closed head injury is exactly as it sounds – there is no penetration of the skull. Closed head injuries are common in car accidents, slip-and-fall accidents, and pedestrian accidents. Damages tend to be focal and diffuse – meaning, damage to the brain occurs at the point of impact and can affect every part of the brain. Many TBIs tend to be closed head injuries.
  • Deceleration Injury (Diffuse Axonal Injury) – These types of injuries occur because the brain is moving in the same direction as a person's body is moving, when the skull meets a stationary object. The brain moves at a different speed than the skull, and each part of the brain moves at a different speed than the other parts of the brain. When the brain is slammed back and forth inside the skull – like during a car accident – the axons (single nerve cells) within the brain's neurons are compressed, stretched, and sometimes even torn. Torn axons die and cause brain damage. Severe brain injuries usually involve massive axon and neuron death.
  • Chemical/Toxic - Chemicals can damage the brain's neurons as well and cause widespread damage to the brain. Types of injuries caused by harmful chemicals and toxins include carbon monoxide poisoning, lead poisoning, etc.
  • Hypoxia (Lack of Oxygen) – This type of injury can occur during many different types of accidents. If blood flow doesn't have oxygen, it can cause severe brain damage, and even make a person "brain dead."
  • Infections - Brain damage can occur due to an infection caused by viruses and bacteria, such as meningitis. Some dangerous drugs can cause these types of life-threatening infections.
  • Stroke – A stroke occurs when blood flow is restricted to an area of the brain or another part of the body. Sometimes, an artery or vein can tear, which can cause hemorrhaging in the brain – resulting in brain damage. The effects can range from mild to severe. Some stroke patients recover with rehabilitation, while others remain in a vegetative state ("brain dead"). Many dangerous drugs are known to cause stroke, and trauma from an accident can also cause a stroke, in addition to many other types of injuries.
  • Tumors – Dangerous drugs can also cause tumors to grow on or over the brain. The tumors can push on the brain and cause brain damage.

Mild and Severe Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injuries are diagnosed as either mild or severe:

  • Mild TBIs – loss of consciousness and confusion/disorientation is less than 30 minutes; problems include headache, problems thinking and remembering, mood swings, attention deficits, and frustration – even though CT scans and MRIs may come back normal. Concussions are considered mild TBIs. Mild TBIs are often missed at the time of the injury, and 15% of people have effects that last at least one year following the event.
  • Severe TBIs – loss of consciousness is more than 30 minutes; memory loss is longer than 24 hours, and effects can range from major cognitive problems to coma. People who survive severe TBIs may suffer permanent damage, including limited function of the arms and legs, emotional problems, and cognitive impairment.

Tests to Diagnose a Brain Injury

A neurologist or physician will conduct a neurological examination to determine the severity and type of the traumatic brain injury. They will consider a person's physical state and the amount of time he or she lost consciousness as well.

There are two main tests that doctors use to diagnose a TBI: the Glascow Coma Scale and the Rancho Los Amigos Scale.

Glascow Coma Scale

The Glascow Coma Scale is based on a 15-point scale. It estimates the severity of a brain injury by measuring motor response, verbal response, and eye opening.

Rancho Los Amigos Scale

The Rancho Los Amigos Scale measures the levels of awareness, behavior and interaction with the environment, and cognitive response. It categorizes the patient in one of eight levels; Level VIII (8) is the least serious, while Level I (1) is the most serious.

Other tests that help doctors diagnose TBIs include:

  • Galveston Orientation and Amnesia Test (GOAT)
  • Oxford Test
  • Neuroimaging
  • Other Neuropsychological Testing

More Information on Traumatic Brain Injuries

Read more about traumatic brain injuries:

Get a Free Legal Consultation Now — You May Have a Case

Traumatic brain injuries can be mild to severe. Diagnosing and treating a TBI can be very expensive. They change lives forever.

If you, or someone you love, suffered a traumatic brain injury, don't wait any longer. Call 1-866-943-3427 for a free legal consultation. Our phones answer 24/7. You may have a case, and Edgar Snyder & Associates is ready to help get you the money you deserve.

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