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Traumatic Brain Injury

What is a traumatic brain injury?

A TBI occurs when an impact to your head or body causes your brain to hit your skull. The brain trauma you experience depends on the severity of the impact.

A concussion is a mild TBI, but it still causes temporary nerve damage and changes in brain function. A moderate or severe TBI may cause a skull fracture and brain injuries such as:

  • Hematoma (bleeding under the skull)
  • Cerebral contusion (bruising)
  • Intracerebral hemorrhage (bleeding in the brain)
  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage (bleeding around the brain)
  • Hydrocephalus (fluids accumulate around the brain)
  • Diffuse nerve injuries (torn or stretched nerves in your brain)

You also have a higher risk of suffering a stroke after a moderate or severe TBI.

What symptoms occur due to a traumatic brain injury?

A concussion seldom makes you pass out. But moderate and severe TBIs can cause a loss of consciousness that lasts from 20 minutes to six hours or longer.

TBIs of all types cause symptoms such as:

  • Memory loss
  • Confusion
  • Headache
  • Seizures
  • Vision problems
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty sleeping

You may also experience slurred speech, changes in hearing, and body numbness.

How is a traumatic brain injury treated?

The primary treatment after a concussion consists of physical and mental rest so that your brain has time to heal. If you return to your usual activities, you have a very high risk of sustaining a second concussion. And another concussion increases your chance of long-term health problems.

Moderate to severe TBIs are treated in the hospital. You may need immediate surgery to:

  • Remove a blood clot
  • Repair a skull fracture
  • Stop bleeding
  • Relieve pressure

Even if you don’t need immediate surgery, TBIs need close observation for potentially dangerous side effects. For example, contusions and hematomas often enlarge in the first few hours or a day. If that happens, chances are you will need prompt surgery.

During your hospitalization, they closely monitor your status and give you medications that minimize the risk of secondary brain injuries caused by a lack of oxygen, inflammation, and bleeding.

Once you leave the hospital, you begin post-TBI rehabilitation. The extent of your rehabilitation depends on the severity of your brain damage. Your provider at Ventura Neuroscience Center continues to support your recovery and manage your medical care throughout your rehabilitation.