Cerebral Edema After a TBI
Cerebral edema is a severe complication that could accompany a traumatic brain injury. When a part of the body is injured, cells and fluid rush to this location to start the healing process. This is why people might have a swollen knee or elbow after banging it on a hard surface. The same thing happens inside the skull following a traumatic brain injury. Cerebral edema is a potentially life-threatening complication.
Why Does Cerebral Edema Occur?
Cerebral edema is the medical term that is used to describe swelling inside of the skull. Swelling is a natural bodily response to some sort of adverse event. Some of the reasons why cerebral edema might occur include:
- A direct or indirect traumatic impact
- A serious infection
- Genetic conditions
How is Cerebral Edema Treated?
Swelling happens quickly and, in other areas of the body, it is relatively easy to treat. Some of these treatments include rest, medications, ice, and elevation. Unfortunately, swelling inside of the brain is both extremely dangerous and challenging to treat. If not handled quickly, swelling inside of the brain could even lead to death.
What Happens if Cerebral Edema Occurs?
Cerebral edema is a major complication that can present several risks. Some of these include:
- Reduction of Blood Flow: If the brain tissue swells around the blood vessels, this could constrict the flow of blood. These blood vessels might become pinched off, and blood might not reach the various cells and tissues of the brain. This could deprive these cells of oxygen, leading to tissue death.
- Obstruction: At the same time, this swelling could obstruct the flow of fluid, trying to leave the brain. This could cause fluid to back up inside of the skull, making the swelling even worse.
- Herniation: Perhaps the most significant risk of cerebral edema is herniation. As the brain swells, the tissue might be forced out of the holes in the skull. When this happens, it could lead to permanent nerve damage and tissue death. A cerebral herniation is also deadly.
Watch YouTube Video: Cerebral Edema by MBBS Made Easy. This video provides an overview of the different types of cerebral edema.
Treatment of Increased Intracranial Pressure
If an individual is showing signs or symptoms of cerebral edema, there are several treatment approaches that the medical team might pursue. The goal of all of these treatments is to lower intracranial pressure and prevent cerebral herniation from taking place. Some of the procedures that the team might employ include:
- Elevating the head of the bed to use gravity to pull fluid out of the skull.
- Administering medications to reduce the amount of fluid in the skull, such as diuretics and mannitol.
- Using blood pressure medications to regulate the flow of blood to the skull.
- Emergency surgery to remove a portion of the skull, which is called a craniotomy.
If a portion of the skull is removed, the brain will be able to swell without constraints. Without these constraints, the intracranial pressure will not increase as much. This could allow the brain to expand without the risk of herniation. Of course, brain surgery has its risks, and this needs to be discussed with a trained medical professional.
Contacting a Brain Injury Lawyer
When an individual has sustained a traumatic brain injury, he or she might require emergency surgery. This surgery is necessary to reduce intracranial pressure and prevent brain herniation from taking place. While all of this happens, families might have questions and concerns about the accident and its injuries. This is where a meeting with a California personal injury lawyer can be helpful. You and your family could be owed a substantial financial award.
San Francisco, CA Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a traumatic brain injury lawyer in San Francisco. Cerebral edema is a significant complication that might take place following a blow to the head. Should you or a family member be diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury following an accident, call me at (415) 805-7284 or (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly advice.
I am a proud member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum in California.
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Image Citation: “TheDigitalArtist” on Pixabay
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