There are several cases in which injuries remain latent for a considerable period of time, before they start manifesting on the outer surface or in the overt behavior of a person. When it comes to head injuries, undetected effects can be really devastating. Numerous people across the globe become victims of undetected head injuries which, after some time become the root cause of many serious health issues. Yes, carelessness that people show in this area can come with a hefty price tag. That is why we are going to focus on this serious issue of undetected an head injury, especially after a motor vehicle accident where negligible jerks, strains can have detrimental repercussions on the human body.
According to scientific studies, there are around two million people who are inflicted with severe brain injuries every year, and this traumatic condition becomes the primary cause of injury related deaths. You need to understand this fact that your brain is very complex and very delicate. Any injury to this part of your body will cripple you for the entire life. Even if head injury does not prove fatal, yet its effects can be devastating from dysfunctional body parts, loss of sensory perception, memory related problems and so on. Hence, in no way you should take a head injury carelessly. Even the slightest of signs can be just the tip of the iceberg. There is nothing apparent and clear on the surface when it comes to head injuries. You are advised to tread very carefully.
You should be on the lookout for symptoms even after weeks of an accident, as it is the matter of not only of your life but the quality of life that you will live after the car accident. Without any doubt, the subdural hematomas can have consequences that are profound, lifelong and many times fatal for victims. The most prominent thing that has come in to limelight is that an undetected head injury poses more threat to people who fail to have proper examination after being hurt in a car accident. It is surprising to note that those who have been taken to emergency rooms straight away have lesser chances of failing to detect head injuries as compared to those who just walk away from the car accident scne with fewer injuries. Hence, the only thing that matters to make the situation worse in the location of the injury.
If you have been a victim of car accident but faced head injury without any cuts, bruises or bleeding, then you might not go for medical examination till the symptoms of the head injury start manifesting. This surely is a fatal mistake on your part as you might be inviting a lot of trouble with your negligence. Hence, it is imperative that you seek full medical examination after a car accident, especially of your brain, as your so-called “normal jerks, pressures or strains” can lead to fatal consequences of head injury if it remains undetected for a long time!
Analyzing Brain Trauma
First thing that a doctor should check with people who have had head injury is its intensity; whether it is fatal or not; and also consequences of the injury. It is very clear that once head injury occurs – it takes time to stabilize the condition of the patient. Only when all vital functions of the brain are stabilized, the physician uses neurological tests for checking damage to the brain. Here is the list of things which are checked by the doctor soon after an auto accident, or when a victim reports symptoms of a head injury:
- Level of awareness (the victim is conscious about surroundings) – In this case a doctor uses various steps to understand if the patient is able to recognize his/her surroundings. It can include recognition of normal things to their close people and general information.
- Cranial nerves functionality – Cranial nerves play very crucial role in our head and that is why every doctor makes sure that the person with head injury should be tested well to ensure there is no problems with cranial nerves. There are many ways to check if cranial nerves are working properly. Some of these are response to eye movements, papillary response with light and facial symmetry etc, that gives clear indication about functionality of cranial nerves.
- Motor functions – It is tested to understand the degree of injury, as minor to intermediary injuries can be recognized with this checkup. In this case, a doctor keeps an eye on abnormality of movements, strength, symmetry etc.
- Breathing rate and pattern – There is no denying that seriousness of an injury can be examined through breathing patterns. There are many nerves linked with the brain which control our breathing process. If the injury is serious – you can notice visible difference in breathing of the person.
- Sensory functionality – Many people face sensory problems after a serious head injury. If you are not able to feel pain with pin pricking then you can be facing problems in the zone of sensory functionally. A doctor can also use various tests for recognizing the area of the brain affected due to the accident.
- External traumatic signs – There are many other injuries which can happen to the head after a car accident. In some cases it may be brushing in the neck, head or in both. In remaining cases you can clearly see a fractured skull, deformity and/or many other signs.
All these tests and responses of parts will provide necessary clues to a doctor about specific place where the head injury has occurred. There are different areas of the brain which control various body parts. If there is any kind of a problem in body functionality then it clearly shows that there is severe brain injury. Doctors will also require information about the patient’s behavior and certain changes which occurred after, before and during injury. This information can bring huge impact on understanding the degree of injury and ways that are apt for treating such problems. People which have witnessed the accident and family members of patient can provide a lot of important information which could be used to understand the problem and decide make a decision about treatment process. Family members can help by noticing these symptoms of the victim:
- Increased sleeping hours or difficulty in waking up
- Confusion about facts and people
- Any kind of convulsions
- Ever increasing vomiting
- Increase agitation and restlessness that intensified with each day
- Stiffness in neck
- Uncontrolled eye moments or unequal pupil size
- Problems in moving legs or arms
- Secretion of clear liquid or blood from nose, ears
- Problem in breathing
- Yellowing or marks behind the ears or around eyes
Doctors can also use various radiological tests to find the exact spot where the person had head trauma. CT scans are the most common way of discovering head traumas because it provides perfect information about internal bleeding, skull fracture or other important parts of the brain. MRI can also be used for verifying brain injuries but it requires the patient to be in a stable condition. But there is no denying that MRI is much more efficient way of verifying brain injuries as compared with CT scans.
Each injury is unique and that is why special treatment process is required for healing an injury in the best possible manner. Surgery will be required for removing foreign materials or blood. It might also be required for reconstructing damaged parts of the skull. Serious amount of swelling in brain tissues is a very common problem with brain injuries. A neurosurgeon can place ventriculostomy drain what is very helpful for removing cerebrospinal fluid. In case of intense swelling, a surgeon will remove a part of the skull so the brain has sufficient room to expand. The surgeon will re-implant the bone after swelling has vanished. Pressure valve might be placed inside the skull to measure pressure every second.
The list of head traumas
Injury to the skull
Skull fracture can be of various categories, such as depressed fractures, linear fractures and compound fractures. It depends on the condition and location of fracture because deep fractures are beneath the bones. It will require much more time for treating and healing process in case of serious skull fractures, as compared with linear fracture.
- Linear fracture – With this type of fracture only a minor part of the skull has fracture and doesn’t require too much attention. Normally it can be fixed with minor stitching and some pain killers.
- Depressed fractures – This type of fracture can bring significant pain and complications because the bone presses the brain. It can also stick into upper layer of brain tissues. It depends on the place where the injury has occurred because some parts of the brain require a lot of time for healing.
- Compound fracture – This is a very serious situation because with this type of trauma, damage happens to the bone, skin, dura and uncover the brain tissues. It can create significant pain and swelling which is unbearable.
Injuries to blood vessels
Injury to vessels inside the brain can lead to death as it leads towards hematoma. It can also take towards other serious repercussions such as problems with memory. Hematoma is a situation where blood starts gathering in abnormal brain parts. In such cases it has been observed that there is blood in the dura and cerebral tissues that is known as subdural hematoma. This condition puts pressure onto the brain what leads to further damages, and in the critical situations it can be fatal as well.
Now the question comes how we can come to know about hematomas which are so detrimental to our brain and life; yet remain so subtle and undetected. Sometimes it has been observed that there are sets of symptoms which become apparent immediately due to the head injury but in most cases it might take considerable time from several days to months before there is any sign of the problem. There are certainly some symptoms which are associated with hematomas and they are: headache and loss of consciousness. These two symptoms are quite common yet after a car accident such signs must not be taken negligently. Similarly, seizures, slurred speech, feeling of disorientation are the sure sign that there are some serious issues with the brain. Even in general situations they are given considerable thought and people seek checkup; but when it happens after one has faced an accident, it should be given immediate attention. Any delay can be fatal. In addition to this, there are many people who have reported feeling irritable and increased apathy or indifference.
Here are types of hematoma with their problematic nature:
- Epidural hematoma – Occurs between dura and skull, requires immediate surgery
- Subdural hematoma – Occurs between dura and brain surface, careful diagnosis and surgery required
- Intracerebral hematoma – Injury to small blood vessels, treatment depends on the patient’s condition
Injuries to brain tissues
During an accident, brain tissues are subjected to significant pressure which might lead to bruises which subsequently leading to bleeding and swelling of brain tissues. Such conditions lead to lifelong damages. Intensity of tissue damage is classified further in terms of concussions, contusions, laceration etc. In addition to this, there can also be brain swelling, ischemia and diffuse axonal injury (DAI).
In the former case, a person might register damage in the initial stages. Symptoms become apparent when damage of tissues, nerves and blood vessels cause swelling in the brain. Severity of swelling leads to more compression in the brain due to hard skull that disrupts swelling. This condition can be the cause of acute disability and in some cases death as well.
In case of the latter – which is diffuse axonal injury, axons of nerves come under strain and their damage can lead to various complications. If the injury is mild – it is not much problematic, but in critical cases this situation has no treatment and eventually causes death.
All in all, head injuries are very critical matter and the undetected ones are all the more treacherous. Make sure that you don’t show any kind of leniency when it comes to your brain and its healthy functioning. Any risk here can lead to grave results.