A serious accident can result in brain trauma that leads to cognitive impairment. There are several degrees of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) that can manifest through countless symptoms. The symptoms can range from a persistent headache to an extended loss of consciousness. With such a range of symptoms, it can be challenging for a medical professional to accurately diagnose a TBI.
Structure or function?
Whether from a vehicle collision or a fall from height, head trauma is generally categorized as either impacting the structure or function of the brain. Damage to the physical structure of the brain is commonly identified by imaging technology. Even in the event of a penetrating head wound, medical professionals will often rely on computed tomography (CT) scans to create an x-ray image of the skull and brain. These scans can often show fractures, swelling, hemorrhages, contusions and other internal damage.
Additionally, the physician might use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as a further examination tool. MRI generally provides a detailed view as it is a more sensitive test.
Unfortunately, assessing brain function might prove a bit more challenging. There might not be a visual cue for diagnosticians to identify memory loss, personality changes or problems with impulse control. Often, damage to the brain’s function can be identified through neurological examinations. There are two standardized test forms developed for this purpose: Acute Concussion Evaluation and Sport Concussion Assessment Tool.
While these tests are designed to help a medical professional accurately diagnose the extent of the brain trauma and its effect on the individual, they are by no means the final examination. A patient should be examined numerous times over the course of the treatment to identify any further issues and note undiagnosed damage. Additionally, the cognitive evaluation can monitor the changing severity of TBI symptoms.
After any type of accident, it is wise to consider the impact it might have on your brain. Even if you are not directly struck in the head, the violent, jarring motion of the body and neck can cause the brain to strike the interior of the skull. It is wise to be thoroughly evaluated by a medical professional.