How do the doctors know what's going on?

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Diagnosis is made through thorough physical examination, neurological testing, the Glasgow coma scale and several imagery scans such as CT, MRI and X-ray. Diagnosis is usually explained using the scale of mild, moderate and severe and is usually noted as open or closed and sometimes by the area of the brain impacted. Even a mild brain injury can be complicated and hard to detect. Doctors and surgeons specializing in the brain spend many years studying the brain, what the brain does and the impact of brain injury. Although they are experts in the field, there is still a lot that is unknown about the brain. Each brain is slightly different and each injury to the brain is unique (just like each snowflake is unique).

How the brain is affected and how the patient will react to treatment are depend on the treatment and care they receive starting from the accident site, the hospital and through to rehabilitation. The patient’s attitude, participation in the treatment and cooperation will also affect the outcome.

Early intervention is important. Unfortunately, the detection and diagnosis of mild closed head injuries can often go unnoticed. Often the technology and other types of assessments are not able to detect the damaged areas so some patients miss early detection and treatment.

Mild closed head injuries can be overlooked by doctors as they work on the other physical injuries. The head injury may go undiagnosed for some time before being recognized. Often it will be the family and friends that realize the injured person is not thinking or behaving as they were before the accident and will seek out diagnosis and supports.

Each person is unique therefore the individuals with the brain injury and their families are the experts on the patients. The information from the patients and their families is important information needed by medical professionals to properly diagnose and treat head injuries. Knowing what’s going on and participating in your recovery, following the direction of the medical professionals, ongoing healthy lifestyle, and appropriate rehabilitation therapy, an individual with a brain injury has the best chance of the most complete recovery possible.

The length of time for recovery depends on how severe the damage was to the brain. A mild brain injury may take weeks or months to heal and may reach complete recovery, where more severe damage can take much longer. Any deficits after two years are not likely to heal further and are considered permanent.

See also