How are Traumatic Brain Injuries Diagnosed?
According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 1.7 million people suffer traumatic brain injuries every year. In this group, 52,000 will die and 275,000 are hospitalized. Approximately 1.365 million are treated and sent home from medical facilities.
How do you know if you have suffered a traumatic brain injury? You must undergo an exam and be diagnosed by a medical professional. There are several ways that traumatic brain injuries may be diagnosed.
One way is by examining the patient’s behavior. This is called the Glasgow Coma Scale, or GCS. A medical professional examines the patient’s ability to speak, to open his or her eyes, and the ability to move. Each category is rated, and then a total score is given. A score of 8 or below indicates a serious traumatic brain injury. Between 9 and 12 is a moderate traumatic brain injury, and a score of higher than 13 indicates a minor traumatic brain injury.
Imaging is also used to diagnose traumatic brain injuries.
A common type of imaging test used to diagnose traumatic brain injuries is computerized tomography. This is also known as a CT scan or a “cat” scan. This device takes x-ray images from many different angles around the brain. A CT scan can show bruises in brain tissue, brain bleeds, and other types of damage. CT scan results are provided quickly, which is essential in brain injury cases. When brain injuries are left untreated, it is more likely that the victim will suffer serious, long-term damage.
Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, is also used to diagnose traumatic brain injuries. MRIs provide images that show more detail than CT scans. However, because MRIs take longer to produce images, they generally would not be used to initially diagnose a brain injury. MRIs may be used during a follow-up to uncover additional information about an injury.
A relatively new type of technology is diffusion tensor imaging, or DTI. It borrows MRI technology to study the brain’s white matter tracts. DTI trackS the diffusion of molecules in brain tissue. Physicians are able to look at how the water molecules are moving through the white matter tracts to determine if a brain injury may be present. DTI is able to detect damage to the white matter of the brain, which MRIs and CT scans cannot detect. Damage to white matter tracts can inhibit communication between the brain and other parts of the body. MRIs and CT scans generally detect injuries to the grey matter within the brain.
Each of these types of technology has advantages and disadvantages for certain types of injuries. Medical professionals may use several different types of tests to determine the nature and extent of a brain injury.
If you or a loved one suffered a traumatic brain injury, contact our New Jersey injury attorneys today
At Leonard Legal Group, our New Jersey personal injury attorneys are experienced in traumatic brain injury claims. Whether you suffered an injury due to a fall, a motor vehicle accident, or even an assault, we can help. To schedule your free consultation with our legal team, call 973-984-1414 or contact us online.