Recovery from a traumatic brain injury primarily depends on the severity of injury.
Traumatic brain injury refers to damage of brain tissue due to a blow to the head, resulting from a traffic accident, assault, a fall, or similar catastrophic accident. A closed head injury occurs as the result of a blow to the head that causes the head to move forward and backward or from side to side, causing the brain to collide with the skull at high velocity. This impact bruises the brain tissue and tears blood vessels and the damage is usually localized to the point of impact.
Closed vs. Open Head Injury
Temporal and frontal lobes are often the most affected. Rapid movement of the brain can also injure neuronal axons, interrupting functional communication within and between different brain regions. A closed head injury can cause both localized and widespread damage.
An open head injury occurs when a foreign object penetrates the skull. The damage caused is focal and limited. However, open head injuries are normally more severe compared to closed head injuries depending on the path of penetration.
Effects of Traumatic Brain Injury
First, the brain tissue reacts to trauma with a series of physiological and biochemical responses. Substances from within the brain cells flood the brain, causing further damage to the cells, a process known as secondary cell death. The second effect is seen in the functioning of the individual. In the case of severe TBI, the patient may lose consciousness for minutes to hours and even months. A long period of loss of consciousness is referred to as a coma. In such cases, the patient may also face problems with respiration and motor functions.
After the patient regains consciousness, he or she may experience a variety of neurological symptoms including aggression or irritability. The patient may also develop post traumatic amnesia, a condition in which the individual feels a sense of disorientation and confusion.
These responses typically subside with time as the brain and other body systems approach physiological stability. Unlike muscle and bone tissues, the neurons in the brain do not heal themselves and new nerves do not grow. Full recovery may not be possible. Some areas of the brain may remain damaged and the functions controlled by the affected area may also be affected.
Recovery After a TBI
Recovery primarily depends on the severity of injury. Severity of injury refers to the extent of brain tissue damage. While it may not be possible to measure the degree of damage directly, it can be measured using factors such as depth of coma or duration of loss of consciousness. The Glasgow Coma Scale is used to rate three aspects of functioning – motor response, eye opening, and verbal response. A GC score of 3 denotes the deepest level of coma and a score of 9 or more indicates that the patient is no longer in a coma but is not alert. A score of 15 refers to a fully conscious person.
Chicago Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer
If you have sustained a TBI in an accident, talk to a Chicago traumatic brain injury lawyer to understand your legal rights. Call Willens Law Offices at (312) 957-4166 for a free consultation.