There are some questions that are asked about traumatic brain injuries by the person who has been hurt or by family members, who are faced with caring for a loved one and do not know what to expect with this kind of damage.
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Q: Are there different types of traumatic brain injuries?
A: The answer to this is yes, there are mainly two types of TBI’s:
- Closed Head Injuries: The closed head injury is one where the damaged is caused within the skull, by the brain hitting the skull. These are the types of TBI’s that happen during a car accident, fall or sports incident, in which there is no objects that pierce the skin or skull and into the tissue of the brain. Instead it is the brain hitting into the skull upon impact during a car accident, fall or other incident, with the head moving in a shaking manner.
There are two types of damage that can occur in a closed brain injury:
- Primary brain damage: This is damage that happens when the brain is impacted and complete. It may include:
- Contusions and bruises: These are common and may occur at the point where the force of the impact occurred or right beneath the location that the brain hit the inside of the skull.
- Hematoma: Blood clots may occur between the skull and the brain or in some circumstances inside of the brain.
- Skull fracture: In some instances there can be a breaking of the skull bone during an impact TBI.
- Nerve damage: This is referred to as a deffuse axonal injury and occurs from a cutting or shearing due to the force of the impact to the head that result in damage to the nerve cells in the brain’s connecting nerve fibers.
- Lacerations: Lacerations are a tearing of the frontal and temporal lobes or the blood vessels of the brain. These may occur due to the force of the blow to the head causing the brain to rotate across the hard ridges of the skull.
- Penetrating Injuries: Brain damage caused by a penetrating injury is one in which a foreign object enters the brain, resulting in damage to areas in the brain tissue. The symptoms will depend on the part of the brain that has been damaged by the object.
What Physical Damage can be Caused by a TBI?
The person who has been hurt and sustains a TBI may have physical issues as a result of the harm to the brain and this can include; headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, hearing loss, tinnitus that is a ringing or buzzing in the ears, decreased smell or taste, reduced coordination or strength in the body, arms or legs; and seizures.
What Cognitive Issues Can Happen?
TBI patients may suffer cognitive issues and communication problems that depend on the brain damage and the location of the injury. Thinking problems often result in the person having difficulty finding the right words to explain something or express an idea, whether speaking or writing. The problems that can be associated with cognitive difficulties after a traumatic brain injury thinking skills, such as reasoning, problem solving, goal setting, attention to tasks, being aware of surroundings, sell monitoring, evaluation and self awareness.
Incidence of mild and moderate brain injury in the United States, 1991: http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.1080/026990596124719
Brain Injury Research Center (BIRC) – UCLA: http://neurosurgery.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=621