Whether you come across a major accident or there is something medically wrong with your brain, having brain damage can be a serious health issue and a major cause of panic among many people.
The collective statistics of people with brain injuries are 92 people per 100,000 in the United States. The figures continue to rise as accidents become more common. However, thanks to medical science the treatment of serious head injuries, which were considered fatal a few years ago, has become possible.
In this article, we will talk about head injuries and what modern technology is used for the accurate evaluation and diagnosis of brain injuries.
What Are Head Injuries?
Any injury that affects your brain, the scalp of the head, or skull is regarded as a brain injury. From major bruises and lacerations on the scalp to internal trauma like traumatic brain injury are all regarded as brain injuries. The severity of your brain injury depends mostly on the intensity of the blow.
Types of Head Injuries
There are two types of head injuries:
- A closed injury, where the foundation of the skull is not broken, damaged, or ruptured in any way.
- An open injury where the scalp is torn, the skull is damaged and external items have access to a person’s head.
Sometimes it is quite hard to access the severity of the injury with a mere glance. Even for professionals, it becomes a bit hard to assess the injury with no physical symptoms like bleeding or fractures.
Thankfully, advancement in technology has opened new doors for medical professionals to easily examine, diagnose, and treat the patients coming in with head injuries.
Causes of Head Injuries
Some of the most common reasons why a person can suffer from a head injury are:
- Falling from a height
- Physical fight
- Sports injuries
Common Head Injuries
Some of the most common head injuries are:
- A concussion is a result of a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
- When the head is shaken extremely hard or it hits an external object causing the brain to hit the walls of the skull.
- Hitting the head is not compulsory but it can add to the intensity of the injury.
- A concussion can result in temporary loss of function but improper treatment or persistent occurring can result in permanent function damage.
- Hematoma happens when walls of blood vessels are injured.
- It can cause clotting of blood which results in pressure in the skull.
- Hematoma causes unconsciousness and brain damage.
- A broken skull can lead to deformity of the head and visible bleeding.
- It can also affect the brain as the broken bones bits from the bones can cause internal bleeding.
- Internal bleeding can damage your brain performance.
- Uncontrolled bleeding from the head is hemorrhage.
- Hemorrhage is of two types: subarachnoid hemorrhage and intracerebral hemorrhage.
- Hemorrhage can cause vomiting, headaches, and even pressure in the brain.
- It starts with swelling in the brain and develops to become a more life-threatening condition.
- Over time fluids develop in the brain of the patient and it is known as intracranial pressure (ICP).
- The brain is pressed against the skull due to the gradual pressure buildup.
Symptoms of Brain Injuries
Here are a few symptoms of brain injuries that require proper head injury treatment:
- Constant headache
- Memory and concentration loss
- Nausea and vomiting
- Troubles sleeping
- Changes in the size of pupils
- Distortion of facial features
- Breathing issues
- Impairment in senses
- Swelling on the head
- Slurred speech
Diagnosis of Head Injury
If you have visible bruises or you have been in an unfortunate accident, you need to seek medical attention immediately. Some people neglect to visit the doctor because there are no visible injuries, however; you need to visit your doctor at all costs.
Thanks to the development of medical technology, diagnosis of head injuries, and brain damage have become quite easy.
Your doctor will perform the following tests to evaluate the current condition of your injury:
- An initial assessment will be an external evaluation of trauma. It involves bruises on the scalp and external swelling.
- Your doctor will also go through an external evaluation of nerve functions, muscle strength, facial expressions/movements, and eye movements.
- A series of tests involving technological gadgets will take place as well.
- Imaging tests to confirm the internal damage. The most common machines used to determine fractures, internal bleeding, swelling, and any clotting are CT-Scan, X-Ray machines.
- Your doctor will only recommend that you go for an MRI when the condition is stable. MRI offers a highly-detailed overview of the brain.
- PET scan is conducted to detect the performance of organs and tissues.
Treatment of Head Injury
The entire treatment plan is based on the extent of the injury and the severity of the symptoms that the patient is suffering from.
More than half of the patients going through brain injuries have to be operated on. This is because of internal bleeding and clotting. A surgeon will use special tools and monitored gadgets during the head injury treatment to make sure that the operation is going according to the plan. Some examples of modern operative apparatus are:
- Intraoperative MRI
- PET Scans
- CT Scans
These tools assist the surgeons in:
- Releasing pressure from the brain
- Draining blood
- Detecting and removing cerebrospinal fluid
- Repair skull
- Remove hematoma
- Anti-seizure medications are a common prescription after brain surgery because patients are at risk of getting seizures.
- Diuretics are also recommended to get rid of fluids and release pressure.
- Medication to induce temporary coma will be given in case of blood vessel damage.
It is obvious that patients cannot recover completely from any kind of brain damage but still one has to try to recover and work on the lost functions in the body. There are professional programs that will help you rehabilitate and function better.
Brain injuries are quite common and people with brain injuries have to go through a series of professional treatments and surgery to recover. Modern medical treatment also involves technological gadgets and machinery for better evaluation of the injury.