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Emergency treatment for a traumatic brain injury

A traumatic brain injury requires immediate medical treatment, as letting symptoms linger can result in additional damage or even death.

Emergency treatment of a traumatic brain injury is based largely on the extent of the injury. For example, treating a concussion is different than treating a skull fracture with swelling of the brain.

Generally speaking, emergency care focuses on pinpointing the extent of the injury, stabilizing the condition and taking steps to minimize damage. By doing these things, your medical team is able to improve the likelihood of survival.

Before doing anything else, your medical team will ensure the following:

  • Adequate supply of oxygen to the brain
  • Stable blood pressure
  • Stability of the head and neck to prevent additional damage

Diagnosing a traumatic brain injury typically includes a physical examination, combined with imaging tests such as an X-ray, MRI and CT scan.

From there, it’s easier to make a fast and informed decision on what type of treatment is best. Depending on the severity, surgery is often required to treat a traumatic brain injury. This may include:

  • Repairing skull fractures: This typically includes removing pieces of the skull, setting displaced fractures and/or removing debris from the brain to jumpstart the healing process.
  • Removing blood clots: A traumatic brain injury has the potential to cause bleeding in the brain, which can result in clotted blood. If blood clots aren’t treated quickly, it can result in pressure on the brain and eventual damage.
  • Reliving pressure in the skull: Excess pressure can cause brain damage, so relieving it quickly is often necessary. This can be done in many ways, such as by inserting a drain or shunt.

If you suspect a traumatic brain injury, such as after a motor vehicle accident or incident at your place of employment, call 911 to request an ambulance. It’s critical to act fast, as every minute counts when it comes to treating a serious injury.

As you begin to recover and time allows, learn more about the cause of the accident and your legal rights. For example, in the event of a workplace accident and injury, you may be able to receive workers’ compensation benefits and Social Security Disability.

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