San Antonio is a major city in south-central Texas with a long history of colonial settlement. More than 1.5 million people live in the district, which covers an area of 1,307 square kilometers. Nevertheless, San Antonio was ranked 13th for having a 24.2 percent chance of being involved in an accident. This percentage means that a car in this area has a 24.2 percent risk of being involved in a road or motor vehicle crash. These accidents can lead to traumatic brain injuries, one of the most prevalent outcomes of an auto accident. Depending on the severity of an individual’s injury, the treatment occurs accordingly.
But before we can look at the different neurological treatments available, let’s take a look at what a traumatic brain injury means.
What is a traumatic brain injury?
An impact or blow to the head from blunt trauma causes traumatic brain injury (TBI). The primary damage is the one that happens as a result of the accident. These brain injuries may affect a single lobe of the brain or the whole brain. Moreover, the skull can also crack, but that isn’t always the case. After the injury, the brain bounces back and forth in the head, causing swelling, bleeding, and nerve fiber splitting. The victim can be puzzled and unable to recall what happened immediately after the crash. Even though the individual may appear to be in good health at first, their condition may quickly deteriorate.
The brain suffers a delayed shock after the initial contact. It swells, pressing itself into the skull and restricting the supply of oxygenated blood. This circumstance is a secondary injury, but it is also often more dangerous than the principal injury.
The classes of TBI
The degree and cause of damage with traumatic brain injuries are listed as follows:
- Mild: the individual is alert, and his or her eyes are open. Confusion, dizziness, cognitive impairment, migraine, and temporary unconsciousness are also possible symptoms.
- Moderate: the individual is sluggish, but the eyes are open to stimuli. Consciousness loss lasts anywhere from 20 minutes to 6 hours. Any brain swelling or inflammation causes drowsiness, but you’re still awake to some degree.
- Severe: the individual is unresponsive; even when stimulated, the eyes will not open. Consciousness is lost, and the effects last more than six hours.
What are the types of TBI?
After an automobile accident, there are various kinds of TBI you can experience. The most frequent are as follows:
- Concussion: This is a minor traumatic brain injury that can result in a temporary lack of consciousness but does not ordinarily result in significant brain damage. It can happen following a head injury or a whiplash-type injury that causes your head and brain to shake backward and forwards violently.
- Cerebral contusion: Cerebral contusions are brain bruises created by a rough, powerful knock to the head. They can emerge by a rapid acceleration of the brain towards the skull. At the other end, it can also result from a moving head striking an immovable object and suddenly stopping. The brain can be affected both at the moment of impact and where it hits the interior skull on the other side. In the hours and days after the injury, contusions can become relatively more significant, causing brain function to deteriorate.
- Traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage: This condition involves bleeding into the brain’s surrounding environment. The cerebrospinal fluid usually fills this vacuum, acting as a floating cushion to cover the brain. Small arteries rupture after the acute fracture, resulting in this traumatic brain injury. As a result, the blood spills over the brain’s surface, having an extensive impact.
- Diffuse axonal injury: Nerve cells are sheared and stretched at the cellular level. As the brain pushes back and forth within the skull, the nerve axons rip apart and suffer damage. Axons run the length of the brain, connecting one nerve cell to the next. Axonal injury disrupts the brain’s natural communication processing which may cause significant differences in an individual’s alertness.
- Hematoma: Whenever a blood artery collapses, a blood clot can form. When blood leaves the natural circulation, it thickens and clots. The normal physiological means of stopping bleeding is to clot. A blood clot may be tiny or massive, causing the brain to withstand compression. The symptoms differ based on the blood clot’s location. Afterward, the body reabsorbs this clot after a particular period. Some of the relatively more troublesome blood clots are sometimes surgically removed.
What are the symptoms of TBI?
After an accident, you may experience many different kinds of symptoms. The person’s symptoms may vary depending on the type and place of the head injury and can include the following:
- Severe vomiting
- Painful seizures
- Depressive episodes
- Emotional irritation
- Uncontrolled balance and dizziness
- Insomnia and tiredness
- Inability to pay attention
- Temporary or permanent memory loss
If you happen to experience any such symptom after a traumatic injury, you might want to get help from an accident injury doctor.
How is TBI diagnosed?
When a person with a head injury arrives at the emergency department, doctors try to understand as best as they can about their symptoms and how the incident happened. This diagnosis is made more straightforward with the help of computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, and magnetic resonance spectroscopy. After identification of the TBI’s type, the appropriate medical care commences.
The treatments of TBI
It could be appropriate to keep the patient sedated with drugs after a head injury. Patients who have suffered a mild to severe cognitive impairment are most likely to have epilepsy in the first week after their injury. For the suppression of epilepsy, patients can take anti-seizure drugs.
Any specialized individual in neurology in San Antonio would advise neurocritical care. This intensive care can help patients that suffered from severe TBI. These individuals are in a coma or paralyzed as a result of the crash. Each hour, patients are checked and awoken to have their mental state and brain activity assessed by nurses.
Repairing skull fractures, repairing bleeding arteries, and removing massive hematomas all require surgery. On top of that, it can also help relieve notably raised intracranial pressure. The surgical procedures to treat TBI may include:
- Decompressive craniectomy: This includes removing a large portion of bone to enable the brain to enlarge and grow. If excessively high intracranial pressure becomes critical, this procedure is necessary. In the surgery room, the doctors remove a part of the skull to allow the brain to expand. The skin surface seals off until a specialized biologic layer secures the top of the unprotected brain.
- Craniotomy: This procedure includes cutting a hole in the skull and removing a bone layer to gain entry to the brain. After repairing the injury, the bone flap goes back to its original location, and plates and screws attach it to the skull.
When a patient’s health has healed, they free to leave the hospital.
However, it’s safe to say no one would want to suffer from such horrific brain injuries. If you’re from San Antonio, you should practice safe driving, avoid drunk driving, and always wear your seatbelt. When it comes to your safety, even small things can make a difference.