Complications of Traumatic Brain Injury Surgery
Traumatic accidents can lead to serious injuries, and perhaps none is more grave than a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Depending on the severity of a traumatic brain injury, an individual might require surgery; however, this surgery can lead to severe complications. The goal of surgery following a head or brain injury is to control the pressure that could build inside of the skull. When an individual requires surgery for a TBI, it is important to watch closely for the development of complications.
The Methods of the Study: Chart Review
One of the critical parts of the treatment of a TBI is the control of pressure building inside of the head. When someone suffers a TBI, the brain often swells in response to injury. While this is part of the healing process, it also leads to increased intracranial pressure. If this pressure builds, it could cause a brain herniation, which might lead to death. One of the options for treating increased intracranial pressure is an emergency decompressive craniotomy.
In a study that was published in the Journal of Neurosurgery, the researchers reviewed nearly 100 people who had suffered a traumatic brain injury. Some of the mechanisms of a traumatic brain injury include:
- Auto accidents, motorcycle collisions, and bicycle accidents
- Slip and fall injuries on an icy sidewalk or a wet floor
- Physical assault
These individuals all required emergency surgery for a TBI throughout five years. The medical researchers looked at their charts closely, analyzing the records for any complications that took place after the surgery. Finally, they looked for patterns between the complications and a poor prognosis.
The Results of the Study: Complications of Surgery for a Traumatic Brain Injury
The researchers charted all of the complications that developed in these individuals. According to the study:
- Complications occurred in more than half of the patients (54 percent).
- These complications tended to occur in a specific order.
- Expansion of a cerebral contusion (a bruise on the brain) tended to happen around two days after the surgery.
- Brain bleeds, such as subdural or epidural hematomas occurred about 1.5 days following surgery.
- Some individuals also developed seizures about 2-3 days after the surgical procedure.
- Cerebrospinal fluid leakage through the scalp incision happened about seven days after the surgery.
- Any cerebral herniations tended to occur between two and eight days after the surgery.
- Infections of the surgical site developed about ten days after the surgery.
These complications are serious and could lead to a prolonged hospital stay or even death. Some of the factors that played a role in poor outcome included:
- The development of multiple complications.
- An initial Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score of less than 8 (15 is perfect).
- Age greater than 65.
The results of this study should help physicians anticipate the development of complications following surgery for a TBI. It is essential for doctors and their families to be vigilant for these complications following surgery.
Watch YouTube Video: Understanding Traumatic Brain Injury. This video provides an overview of a traumatic brain injury and its severity.
Contacting a Brain Injury Lawyer
Having a loved one go through surgery is always a stressful experience. Many risks come with surgery, and it is important for families to ask questions. If a family member develops complications after surgery, it is vital to look for answers. This is where meeting with a brain injury attorney in the Bay Area can be beneficial. Some of the resources that a trained brain injury attorney can provide include:
- Professionals who are able to reconstruct what happened at the scene of the accident, ensuring that the mechanism is right.
- Experienced review of documentation to ensure that all of the details have been interpreted appropriately.
- Legal resources to pursue damages related to the accident, its complications, and emotional pain.
- Moving a case to trial when necessary.
Families need to know that they are not alone following a severe event. Take the time to speak with a Bay Area brain injury attorney today. Your family may be owed significant financial compensation.