Diagnosis of TBI
Committed to Compensation for TBI Victims
A diagnosis of TBI, or traumatic brain injury, depends on several factors including the type, cause and severity of the injury as well as the symptoms that manifest following the event.
Diagnosing Moderate to Severe TBI
For patients with moderate to severe traumatic brain injury, the diagnosis is often evident. However, in the presence of other serious and life-threatening injuries, which commonly occur in serious vehicle accidents, closed head injuries can be missed or the diagnosis can be delayed as medical experts focus on life saving measures. Furthermore, brain injury evaluation may be delayed if a patient is on a breathing machine and/or heavily sedated.
Diagnosing Mild TBI
Diagnosis of a mild traumatic brain injury can be more difficult. In fact, many cases of mild TBI are not diagnosed until a patient begins to have problems in the days, weeks or months following an accident.
Methods of TBI Diagnosis
If a traumatic brain injury is suspected following an accident, doctors will often perform a comprehensive neurological exam. Such an exam may involve the use of:
- Cognitive evaluations by a neuropsychologist
- Brain imaging using a CAT, MRI, SPECT and/or PET scan
- Evaluations from occupational, physical and speech therapists
It is important to note that imaging scans are not a perfect diagnostic tool in detecting traumatic brain injury.
Determining the Site of Brain Injury
In diagnosing a traumatic brain injury, medical experts will often determine the area of the brain that was damaged. Injuries to certain areas of the brain produce somewhat predictable symptoms. For example:
- Frontal lobe brain injury will cause disruption to higher cognitive functioning
- Cerebellum brain injury may disrupt balance and coordination
- Brain stem injuries may cause problems with breathing, heart rate and arousal.
Diagnosing a traumatic brain injury will also include determining the extent of the damage and expected outcomes unique to the particular patient.