Brain injury can be caused by external forces or internal stresses and the prognosis of a TBI is typically dependent on the type of injury sustained, the severity of the injury, and the patient’s history of brain trauma. Brain injuries affect approximately 2.5 million people and claim 56,000 lives annually. The degree of recovery is not one dimensional and can be measured in various ways, ranging from mortality to the ability to return to normal functioning capacity in everyday life.
What Are TBIs?
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) most commonly occur from external force to the head or neck that disrupt the normal functioning of the brain. Typically, these types of brain injuries occur as a result of construction accidents, slips and falls, workplace accidents, and assaults. Not all forces produce the same level of damage.
Factors That Determine the Prognosis of a Traumatic Brain Injury
- The severity of the injury
Precise predictions are difficult with TBI because no two brain injuries are exactly the same. In most cases, the more severe the injury, the longer the recovery period. The majority of TBIs are mild, involving unconsciousness or a brief change in mental status. Most people recover from mild TBI but both short- and long-term effects may be experienced. Moderate to severe TBI is characterized by extended periods of amnesia or unconsciousness. Patients with severe injuries usually experience more gradual cognitive improvements and lower cognitive functioning.
- Type of injury sustained
A TBI can be closed or penetrating, depending on whether or not brain tissue was exposed. Injuries can also be primary or secondary. Primary injuries result directly from the impact forces. Secondary injuries develop from primary injuries. Examples include lack of blood flow, inflammation, and ischemia. The degree of recovery depends on the type of injury, the existence of early, efficient intervention, and clinical and surgical conditions.
- Patient’s history of brain trauma
Individuals who have suffered multiple brain injuries on different occasions are more likely to suffer anterograde amnesia, unconsciousness, and prolonged mental status changes. Recovery timelines may be prolonged in repeated brain injuries and the prognosis of the injury will depend on the severity of each injury and the interval between each injury.