The Tests and Procedures Common for TBI Sufferers
Since you never know when a loved one might suffer a traumatic brain injury, it is helpful to know what will happen in the immediate aftermath. Because you are dealing with the brain, many of the tests and procedures that will be used are unfamiliar and possibly even frightening. Understanding what your loved one is about to go through will help you immensely. You want to be their support, and you want to know what the tests and procedures indicate about the severity of the injury. Continue reading to learn more about the common tests and procedures that are likely to be performed.
TBI Tests and Procedures Explained
Here are some of the test and procedures you will want to be aware of if a loved one has just suffered a traumatic brain injury.
A Bone Scan
This is a test that is designed to determine if there is excessive bone growth in the area of the injury. The test will involve an injection of medicine directly into the area. This will help produce some images from a special camera that will help the doctor look for signs of heterotopic ossification. While there may be some minimal exposure to radiation, it is no more than would be encountered with a spinal x-ray.
A Blood Flow or Doppler Test
This test is commonly used to detect any blood clotting that might be occurring after a traumatic brain injury. It is essentially the same as an ultrasound test and is completely painless. It is a very safe procedure as well.
A CT Scan
This is a comprehensive x-ray of the brain. It is done by computer and is often utilized when a doctor suspects hydrocephalus following a traumatic brain injury.
The full name for this test is an electroencephalogram. This safe and painless procedure is meant to record the electrical activity that is currently occurring in the brain. Keep in mind that this test will use some adhesive that allows the electrodes to attach to the head region. When this is removed, some hair removal may be inevitable.
Insertion of a Gastric Tube
Some individuals with a traumatic brain injury are not able to eat or drink on their own. In the interim, the gastric tube insertion is a procedure that allows important nutrition and fluids to flow into the body. The tube itself is usually inserted into the stomach or through the nose and throat.
An MRI Scan
While this type of scan still takes pictures of the brain, it makes use of magnetic energy. This is different than other types of x-ryas that use radiation.
Video Assessment of Swallowing Ability
In patients who are having difficulty swallowing, this assessment makes use of a video that allows the doctor to monitor what is taking place. The goal is to make sure that the individual does not aspirate his or her food, which would result in it going to the lungs as opposed to the stomach.
An Intrathecal Baclofen Trial
This is a procedure that requires surgery. When completed, it allows for the delivery of medication into the areas surrounding the spinal cord. This is most often used in TBI patients who are struggling with spasticity.
These are just a few of the many types of tests and procedures that may be performed on your loved one who is suffering from a traumatic brain injury. Understanding the basis for each of these tests will help you to better understand what is going on. Knowledge is the key to being able to help your loved one rehabilitate and being the often long road to recovery.