How Does a Doctor Determine if Your Head Trauma Is Serious?

If you hit your head, you or someone who is with you may decide you need medical attention at a New Mexico hospital. According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, before sending you home with a traumatic brain injury diagnosis, the doctor should do a thorough examination that may involve a number of tests. 

Your doctor should use the Glasgow Coma Scale to rate your ability to speak, open your eyes on command and move about. The resulting score should only be one aspect of the diagnosing process, and does not necessarily have any bearing on your recovery. Unconsciousness of any kind is also a factor, although even if you did not lose consciousness, you could still have a mild TBI. Memory loss that lasts less than 24 hours could also be the result of this level of injury. A lower GCS score and prolonged periods of unconsciousness or memory loss mark the difference between moderate and severe TBIs.

It is common for doctors to use imaging technology to evaluate the condition of a brain trauma. Computerized tomography x-rays reveal bruises, bleeding and other issues. If there is swelling, the doctor may need to monitor this closely to prevent pressure from causing more damage. A probe can be inserted through the skull for close observation of this problem. More extensive imagery may be gathered through magnetic resonance imaging technology, but these tests are lengthy and may not be used until your follow-up exam.

In addition to the tests the ER doctor may perform, you may have to have an evaluation from a speech-language pathologist and a neuropsychologist. This information is general in nature and should not be interpreted as legal or medical advice.

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