Severe Brain Injury Care – What Can You Expect?

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Severe Brain Injury Care

You have just been informed that your loved one has been in a terrible accident.  All kinds of thoughts are going through your head.  How serious is their condition?  Are they going to be alright? The questions are overwhelming.  If you have been told by the Physicians at the hospital that your loved one has suffered a brain injury the devastation settles in.  What happens now?  Are they going to survive and if they do how much brain damage have they suffered?  Will they ever be the same?  You have never dealt with someone with brain injury and have no clue on what is involved.  In this section we start at the beginning and take you through the steps of severe brain injury care.  All cases are different but we will try to inform you of each step and what may or may not happen. Again, because all brain injuries are different and of different severities some of this discussion of severe brain injury care may apply and some may not. We hope that your loved one needs as little intervention as possible but gets all that they need.

Severe Brain Injury Care Starts in the Hand of the Professionals

Severe brain injury care starts at the scene of the accident.  Once the Paramedics and or Emergency Medical Technicians arrive on the scene they will assess the situation and the severity of the injury to the survivor.   In some cases they will call for a helicopter to transport the patient to the nearest trauma center.  The trauma center they are sent to will be determined by the type of injury the patient has.  In the case of head trauma they most likely will air lift them to the nearest Trauma I or II center.  Unfortunately this could be a good distance from the patient’s home or their loved ones home but it will be equipped to handle the needs of the patient and is the best chance for their recovery.

Neurological Assessment Begins

Once the patient to the facility best suited to their injuries the stabilization process begins and severe brain injury care continues.  Depending on the severity of the head trauma and once the patient is stable the numerous tests will begin.  The first test most likely will be a CT scan to see if there is visible damage to the brain.  It will also tell whether there is swelling of the brain or a brain bleed.  Some facilities may do an MRI rather than a CT scan or both.  An MRI is another Imaging device used to determine traumatic brain injury.  It can show blood flow and is very useful in determining brain bleeds and or brain swelling.  Once the patient is stable an MRI can tell more about the brain’s white matter and damage than a CT scan can.

Craniotomy (craniectomy):

In the case of brain swelling a craniotomy may be performed by the neurosurgeon on staff at the trauma center.  A craniotomy is performed when it is necessary to remove a portion of the skull to allow the brain to breath because of brain swelling.  The portion of the skull that is removed is called a “brain flap”or also known as a “bone flap”. The brain flap is usually replaced once the swelling is down.  The neurosurgeon will use metal plates, sutures or wires to reattach to the skull.  If the craniotomy was done because of the brain swelling the brain flap may not be replaced. If the bone flap is not replaced the procedure is then called a craniectomy.

For more information on a  Craniotomy Click Here

Next: Brain Injury Care Continues in the ICU

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Gordon Johnson

Attorney Gordon Johnson is one of the nations leading brain injury advocates. He is Past-Chair of the TBILG, a national group of more than 150 brain injury advocates. He has spoken at numerous brain injury seminars and is the author of some of the most read brain injury web pages on the internet.

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