Cerebral Obstruction After a Traumatic Brain Injury

Cerebral Obstruction Following a TBI

The brain makes cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), a clear and colorless liquid that can be useful in a variety of medical tests. This CSF plays a variety of essential roles in the human body, which include:

  • Surrounding and protecting the brain.
  • Providing a liquid cushion for the brain and the spine, protecting them from injury.
  • Moving throughout the central nervous system to eliminate waste from the body.
  • Providing the brain and spine with nutrients to power their cellular functions.

Following a traumatic brain injury, a cerebral obstruction can develop. This obstruction could cause this CSF to build up within the brain and spine, leading to a variety of medical issues.

Mechanism of a Cerebral Obstruction

CSF is produced throughout the brain tissue and spinal cavity. This fluid travels in a specific pattern throughout the central nervous system. It starts in an area of the brain called the lateral ventricles. Then it flows to the third ventricle. From there, it moves into the aqueduct of Sylvius and finally entering the fourth ventricle.

After leaving this plumbing system, CSF is often absorbed into the bloodstream. Following a traumatic brain injury, an obstruction could occur anywhere in this flow and might lead to severe complications. A traumatic brain injury might lead to obstruction if:

  • A foreign object enters the brain.
  • A blunt injury of the brain that leads to swelling of the brain tissue.
  • Inflammation within the brain that causes an increase in CSF production, creating a backup of flow.

Watch YouTube Video: Flow of Cerebrospinal Fluid. The 3-D video below demonstrates the flow of cerebrospinal fluid through the ventricular system.

Serious Complications Could Develop

If a cerebral obstruction has developed, it could lead to something called hydrocephalus. If this occurs, there are a variety of complications that might develop. Some of these include:

  • Chronic headaches that result from an increase in the pressure within the skull.
  • Vomiting that occurs when pressure changes occur within the brain.
  • Blurry vision that might result from the compression of brain tissue.
  • Balance and coordination issues that occur due to the compression of certain parts of the brain.
  • Cerebral herniation that might occur if the swelling continues without medical treatment.

These are only a few of the severe complications that might develop. If these aren’t treated quickly, it could result in death.

Treatment of Hydrocephalus

If an individual develops a cerebral obstruction, he or she could be diagnosed with hydrocephalus. This could lead to visible brain swelling and compress the central nervous system. This compression could lead to permanent brain damage if it is not treated quickly. Some of the treatment options include:

  • Emergency Brain Surgery: One of the first steps in the treatment of this complication could be emergency brain surgery. This surgery is done to relieve some of the fluid building up within the brain, reducing the compression. This will allow the brain tissue to re-expand, hopefully restoring its function. If this compression is not alleviated quickly, it could result in a herniation of the brain, leading to death.
  • Relieving the Obstruction: After the fluid is removed, the brain surgeon may try to alleviate the obstruction. There could be a foreign object blocking the normal flow of CSF which needs to be removed. In other situations, brain swelling might also be the cause of the obstruction. If possible, the surgeon will try to fix this obstruction.
  • Prevention of a Cerebral Obstruction: If the obstruction cannot be removed immediately, the surgeon might also place something called a shunt. This shunt is used to circumvent the obstruction. It will send the CSF around the obstruction to prevent the hydrocephalus from returning.

These are complicated surgical procedures that are often used in emergency situations.

Contacting a Brain Injury Lawyer

With a loved one undergoing emergency neurosurgery, it is normal for families to feel stressed and have questions. Families deserve to have these questions answered. For help with this situation, it is crucial to meet with a traumatic brain injury lawyer in San Francisco. An experienced attorney can help families look at the records from the accident, assess their options, and pursue damages. Do not hesitate to ask for help because nobody should have to face this situation alone. You and your family members could be deserving of a significant financial award.

San Francisco Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a traumatic brain injury lawyer in San Francisco. A cerebral obstruction could lead to the buildup of CSF and the development of hydrocephalus. Should you or a family member require emergency brain surgery following a serious accident, please reach out to me at (415) 805-7284 or (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly legal guidance and advice.

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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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