Traumatic Brain Injuries: TBI Diagnosis Explained

brain image A head injury is considered any type of injury that occurs to the head, from a mild bruise to a traumatic brain injury. A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a specific type of head injury that occurs to the brain damaging its normal functioning.  This results from an external force to the head, such as a sudden jolt or severe blow, resulting in trauma. Common causes of a TBI include car accidents, a fall, sports injuries, or even violent assault, and can range from mild to severe with significant repercussions. Attorney David Tapalian is a Providence personal injury lawyer who has helped hundreds of clients throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts navigate the legal complexities following a TBI resulting from a serious auto accident, motorcycle crash, or slip and fall. Moderate to severe TBI’s are extremely serious matters and considered more critical than concussions. If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident, it’s vital to seek medical treatment right away. If left untreated, a brain injury can have dangerous, even life-threatening complications.

How is a TBI Diagnosed?

When a doctor or medical provider order TBI testing for a potential brain injury, for instance after a motorcycle crash, various components are used to make a diagnosis. TBI tests refer to the series of imaging tests and medical examinations that healthcare providers conduct in order to evaluate the presence and severity of a traumatic brain injury. These tests include everything from initial physical examinations to more complex imaging tests like Computerized Tomography (CT) scans and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).

TBI Tests

Initial Physical Examination

The first test that a person undergoes when they are treated for a suspected head injury is typically the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS), which evaluates the ability of the individual to move their eyes, follow directions, and speak in a comprehensible manner. The higher the score, the less severe the TBI.

Imaging Tests for TBIs

After the initial examination, the doctor may order imaging tests such as CT scans to get a more thorough view of the brain and pinpoint any internal issues such as brain tissue swelling, brain tissue bruising, skull fractures, or blood clots. MRI scans are also commonly used to identify more subtle damage to brain tissue that can happen with milder TBIs. To gain deeper insights into the injury, more advanced techniques such as Susceptibility Weighted Imaging (SWI) and Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) may be used.

Additional Testing

Healthcare providers may also run blood tests to search for specific biomarkers that indicate brain tissue damage. The person’s motor function, balance, reflexes, coordination, and sensory function may be assessed through neurological exams. If the TBI is more severe, the doctor may need further specialized tests or even surgery to get a comprehensive diagnosis.

How Long Does A TBI Test Take?

The duration of testing for a TBI depends greatly on the severity of the injury as well as the kinds of tests that the doctor orders. While initial examinations like the GCS only take a few minutes, certain imaging tests like MRIs and CT scans can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. It will likely take additional time for the tests to be interpreted and various medical providers consulted to form the most accurate diagnosis. Further testing may still be required if certain aspects need further clarification.

Documenting Your TBI

As with any type of injury, it’s important to document your TBI and maintain proper evidence of your testing and treatment should you have a personal injury claim. If the accident that resulted in your brain injury was a result of negligence by another person, for instance an intoxicated motorist recklessly crashed into your car from behind, seek legal advice right away. An experienced personal injury attorney will discuss your accident and determine your eligibility to file a personal injury claim to seek compensation. In order to prove fault in your Rhode Island personal injury claim, you will need to prove the extent of your injuries so be sure to document your symptoms, undergo the required TBI tests, and consistently keep an open line of communication with your medical providers regarding your condition. Keeping a file of all the medical documentation, including proof that you immediately sought treatment and reports from your imaging tests as well as any other evidence of your TBI is essential.

Contact a RI Personal Injury Lawyer for Your TBI

If you have suffered a TBI or any type of head injury, it’s crucial to immediately seek medical attention. Whether the injury was a result of an incident on the job, a vehicle accident, a slip and fall, or other type of harm, properly document all evidence and proof related to your injury. Call Tapalian Law to speak to a personal injury attorney about your traumatic brain injury, for free, and plan your next steps today. Reach our Providence injury firm at 401-552-5000, or contact us online to set up your free consultation.

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