Where Compassion Meets Experience

A traumatic brain injury has occurred: What’s next?

It’s important to realize that you won’t always be able to lean on the expertise of a trained medical professional in those crucial moments after a brain injury such as a concussion has occurred. You should talk to professionals ahead of time so you will be prepared for these types of incidents. The worst may happen when you least expect it; after all, no one ever plans on being in California and suffering from – or witnessing – a serious brain injury.

After suffering from a traumatic brain injury, it is highly advisable that the individual sees a doctor to be formally evaluated. This is preferably the person’s primary care physician since this is the doctor who knows them best, but any physician is better than no physician.

See the right kind of medical professional

If the TBI is serious enough, it may be warranted to visit a neurologist. These specialists have an intimate understanding of the way the brain works – but make sure to see a neurologist who is trained in traumatic brain injuries, since not all of them are.

In some cases, a neuropsychologist may be needed to provide their own evaluation. Certain types of injuries and situations call for a forensic neuropsychologist, and the decision of which one to use depends largely on the legal issues at play.

Imaging to assess the damage

Brain imaging is a major part of the testing that a neuropsychologist will perform to see what the damage from the injury is. The two forms of brain imaging that a neuropsychologist might recommend after a traumatic brain injury include Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) and Susceptibility-Weighted MRI (SWI).

With an SWI, the brain’s gray matter and overall structure are accessed. DTI, on the other hand, scans and evaluates the brain’s white matter, which is what keeps the brain connected. By examining the nerve structure, a DTI looks at how far the damage from the injury has gone.