Brain Injury FAQs
There are many different types of brain injuries. Broadly, brain injuries can be broken down into two main categories – traumatic brain injuries, and non-traumatic brain injuries. Traumatic brain injuries are caused by a sudden, usually violent event, like a fall or a crash. Non-traumatic brain injuries are caused by diseases, near drowning or other oxygen deprivation events, strokes, or metabolic disorders. Within each broad category there are scales to describe the degree of injury. Traumatic brain injuries are classified as mild, moderate, or severe. The accuracy of the categories is widely debated and many believe that “if it is your brain that was traumatically injured, then it is severe.” This traumatic brain injury classification table summarizes the criteria for each classification.
It depends. Traditional MRI and CT are not sensitive enough to detect individual axonal injuries or even large groups of axonal injury. MRI and CT scans are really designed to detect large areas of bleeding. Unless a blood vessel or multiple blood vessels are torn creating a relatively large bleed, MRI and CT won’t detect the injury. This means that traumatic brain injuries that can result in severe deficits often go undetected because traditional imaging just cannot detect the injury.
Yes! There are many different types of MRI machines and MRI scan sequences that are good at detecting some injuries and bad at detecting others. It is extremely important that your MRI be performed at a cutting-edge MRI center, by a caring and qualified MRI technician, and read by a neuroradiologist with a specialty in reading brain injury MRIs. The science and technology surrounding brain injuries is rapidly improving. Important things to look for in a quality brain MRI center are:
The strength of the MRI magnet. The strength of the magnet, which is measured in a unit called Teslas, is an important indicator of the level of detail that the radiologist will be able to see in your MRI. If your MRI is performed on an MRI with a weak magnet (less than 3.0 Teslas) the radiologist will be left looking at a lower definition image of your brain. That makes it easy for the radiologist to have a hard time seeing the damage to your brain.
The scans that are run by the MRI technician. When our clients have an MRI of the Brain performed we obtain a copy of the images and review them ourselves. It is very common that the brain injury will be detectible on only some of the MRI scan sequences. There are three scan sequences that are essential to proving a brain injury case: 1) T2 weighted imaging – this is a very common sequence; 2) FLAIR; and 3) Diffusion Tensor Imaging. FLAIR and DTI sequences are frequently not performed on a routine basis at hospitals and certain MRI centers so it is important that you go to a center that will correctly perform these sequences. Some MRI centers claim to perform these sequences but in reality they just charge patients for them but they are performed in an unreliable (and inadmissible) way.
Will the radiologist at the MRI center agree to compare any prior brain imaging that you have to your new Brain MRI? It is very important that your radiologist compare both studies to determine whether there is any brain atrophy that has developed as a result of your brain injury. A good neuroradiologist will compare a prior brain CT scan to MRI too look for traumatically caused brain atrophy.
Case Example: One of our clients had her brain MRI performed at an MRI center that typically performs MRIs of orthopedic joints (knees, shoulders, back). The center had their MRI optimized to image those body parts, not the brain. The MRI center had a 1.5 Tesla (weak) magnet in its MRI machine. The center ran scan sequences that were intended to look for blood on the patient’s brain. Because the tools used to perform the MRI imaging were not ideal, we were left with an MRI that showed that our client had a normal brain. She did not have a normal brain. She was involved in a very traumatic incident and was suffering clear symptoms of brain injury. She then went to an MRI center that specializes in performing brain MRIs. This center has a higher strength magnet and is specially tuned over the course of thousands of MRIs to specifically look for brain injuries. Not only did this second MRI show that our client had a clear brain injury on MRI, it also showed that nutrients were not flowing correctly along her neurons in an area of her brain. These were crucial findings. Our expert radiologist had to explain that the way that the first MRI center performed the MRI was out-of-date.
Symptoms of a concussion can be physical, emotional, or mental. Some common symptoms include difficulty thinking, poor memory, difficulty concentrating or focusing, nervousness, irritability, irrationality, headache, nausea, dizziness, or depression. These symptoms may be mild or severe. Some symptoms may go away after a short period of time, but some symptoms are long-lasting—this is called “post-concussive syndrome.” Also, some symptoms may be permanent. It is important for an individual experiencing long-lasting symptoms from a concussion to see a doctor immediately.
Recovery from a concussion is broken down into two parts. The first is the immediate post-concussion recovery called the “acute phase”. This occurs over the week or two after a concussion (the time-period may vary). During this time the brain is in a very fragile state. A person should take it easy, rest, avoid looking at screens, avoid school or work, and avoid exercise. During this period the brain is in an inflammatory process where additional injury may be occurring. The second phase of recovery is called the “recovery phase.” After being cleared by a neurologist, a person in the recovery phase will proceed to attempt to resume normal life and, importantly, begin therapy to regain function. Generally, a person is given a two-year time frame to make a recovery from a concussion. After two years, whatever symptoms the person is still experiencing will be considered permanent.
Yes! One of the classic signs of a concussion, otherwise known as a mild-traumatic brain injury, when a person cannot remember what happened before they suffered a concussion, or after a concussion. Typically, when a person has difficulty remembering what happened before a concussion (retrograde amnesia) they have a hard time remembering how they arrived at the scene of the accident or what they were doing. People who have a hard time remembering what occurred after a concussion (anterograde amnesia) remember the accident and then only remember being at the hospital. They don’t remember how they got to the hospital. In these cases, the concussion prevented the brain from making memories for a time-period. This is very common and it may not prevent you from being able to prove your liability case. In fact, this is very strong evidence proving that you did suffer a brain injury.
Brain cells begin to die after approximately three to four minutes of oxygen deprivation. Anoxic brain injuries are those caused by a complete lack of oxygen being provided to the brain. This is a separate type of injury separate from hypoxic brain injuries, which form due to a restriction of the oxygen to the brain that causes gradual death or impairment of brain cells.
There are various types of anoxic brain injuries:
Anemic anoxia: This refers to what can happen if the blood cannot properly carry enough oxygen in the body, thereby leading to brain oxygen deprivation.
Toxic anoxia: This refers to when chemicals or poisons hinder the body’s ability to receive oxygen from blood cells.
Anoxic anoxia: This is caused by a lack of oxygen in the air, resulting in the suffocation of a victim.
Each of these injuries can be caused by the careless, negligent, or intentional actions of others. Anytime somebody causes severe trauma to the head or causes severe blood loss to a victim, an anoxic brain injury is a possibility.
Yes. If you are injured and you believe that you may have suffered a concussion, it is important that you seek representation immediately. Some lawyers only look at injuries involving physical orthopedic injuries such as broken bones or torn tendons or ligaments. If you believe that you have suffered a concussion, make sure you consult with a lawyer that is familiar with the cutting-edge science surrounding concussions and traumatic brain injuries.
Call Our Brain Injury Lawyers Today at (305) 638-4143.