Areas of the Brain
Areas of the Brain

Treating a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

A traumatic brain injury can range from mild to life-ending. A TBI must be assessed and treated as soon as possible after the injury.

We’ve all seen a televised football game where an injured player is surrounded by coaches, trainers, and medical staff. They take head injuries seriously, and so should you.

Mild Injury

Did you know that a concussion can keep you from receiving some treatment, even when you need it? Sometimes, there is a need for observation

If you were injured enough to be hospitalized and suffered a concussion, you may or may not receive pain medication immediately. You might be observed for 24 hours before your major injury is treated with pain relievers.

A mild head injury with or without a concussion can sometimes be treated with just rest and over-the-counter pain medications. You must be monitored closely at home for new symptoms or symptoms that get worse. You also may have a follow-up visit with a physician scheduled.

The doctor will tell you when you can return to work, school or recreational activities. You should avoid physical activities or difficult “thinking” activities. These might make things worse until you are symptom-free. You’ll return to normal activities gradually.

Emergency Care

A moderate to severe traumatic brain injury requires emergency care.  Emergency care focuses on oxygen supply, blood supply, maintaining blood pressure, and preventing further injury.

Any other injuries accompanying the brain injury will be addressed. Secondary injuries will be treated to minimize inflammation, bleeding, or problems with oxygen supply to the brain.

Medications

Some medications will prevent or limit secondary damage to the brain. These medications could include diuretics, anti-seizure drugs, and coma-inducing drugs.

  • Diuretics. Diuretics reduce pressure inside the brain.
  • Anti-seizure drugs. Moderate to severe traumatic brain injury can result in a seizure during the first week after the injury.
  • Coma inducing drugs. A comatose brain needs less oxygen to function, so doctors sometimes will use drugs to put people into a temporary coma. Increased pressure in the brain compresses blood vessels. These compressed vessels deliver less oxygen and nutrients to the brain.

Surgery

Sometimes surgery avoids additional damage. Surgery addresses these problems:

  1. Blood clots or hematomas. Bleeding can cause clotted blood which will accumulate around the brain and damage brain tissue.
  2. Repairing skull fractures. The skull may need repair. Pieces of the skull may need removal from the brain.
  3. Opening the skull.  Draining cerebral spinal fluid relieves pressure inside the skull. Opening a window into the skull also relieves pressure. Surgery can provide more room for swollen tissues.

Rehabilitation

Significant brain injury often requires rehabilitation. You may need to learn basic skills over again. These could include walking or talking. You may need rehabilitation to perform simple daily activities.

Therapy begins in the hospital and will continue at both inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation units. Rehabilitation may take place at a residential treatment facility. The problems suffered by the individual will determine the time and length of rehabilitation.

Rehabilitation specialists

These include:

Traumatic brain injuries can be severe enough to change the remaining life of the victim. They are serious and can be very costly to the victim and the victim’s family.

For more information and help with traumatic brain injuries, contact Wagar Richard Kutcher Tygier & Luminais, LLP, at (504) 830-3838