How Is a Traumatic Brain Injury Diagnosed?

Following a head injury, consult a doctor immediately for a TBI diagnosis.

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The majority of traumatic brain injuries are relatively mild. However, even the least serious brain injuries can have long-lasting health implications. One of the primary concerns with such an injury is that the situation can quickly worsen without proper treatment. Following an accident of any kind involving the head, you should seek medical attention.

During the visit, the doctor will examine the head and most likely schedule a neurological exam, including an X-ray of the brain. It is here that any noticeable damage will be discovered and diagnosed for further treatment.

Injury Information

If you or someone you know has sustained a serious head-related injury, you’ll want to rush to the nearest hospital. Here, medical professionals will begin their diagnosis.

A bit of information is always useful to help diagnose the patient. This information can include:

  • How the injury occurred
  • Whether or not the patient lost consciousness
  • How long the patient was unconscious
  • Any noticeable changes to speech or coordination
  • Where the patient’s head was struck
  • Whether the individual’s body was whipped or jarred

This information can be answered by relatively basic questions, and they provide a good indication of the extent of the injury for the doctor. Doctors are somewhat forced to rely on firsthand accounts of the injury for necessary information.

Methods of Diagnosis

With this information out of the way, your doctor will select a method of diagnosis. This often includes an imaging test, such as a CT Scan or MRI. Both are common methods for diagnosing head trauma.

  • Computerized Tomography Scan (CT) – A CT scan is often performed in the emergency room on any patient suspected of having a traumatic brain injury. The scan uses X-rays to create a detailed image of the brain. Then, doctors can quickly visualize any fractures, locate internal bleeding, blood clots, bruised tissue, or swelling, and begin treatment.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) – An MRI utilizes radio waves and magnets to create an image of the brain. The test is often administered after the conditions stabilize or if symptoms do not improve shortly.

TBI Treatment

Following a diagnosis, TBI treatment may begin. The treatment method varies depending on the severity of the injury. For a mild traumatic brain injury, no other treatment besides rest and over-the-counter pain medication is required. Your doctor may pull you out of school or work for the time being.

For severe, emergency brain injuries, the patient will require enough oxygen to survive and an adequate blood supply for the brain. Treatment will begin in the emergency room or intensive care unit under the care of a highly-trained neurologist.

Dealing with life after a traumatic brain injury can be overwhelming to many. If you or a loved one has suffered from TBI, visit the TryMunity website for support and informative articles.