Unfortunately for car accident victims, traumatic brain injuries are a very real risk that may result from a crash. One common and often severe type of injury is known as a diffuse axonal brain injury. These injuries occur as a result of the rapid acceleration and deceleration that may occur during a crash, causing the brain to move within the skull. Diagnosing the injury properly is key to the overall treatment of the patient since these injuries can cause severe and long-lasting complications.
Four Ways to Diagnose Diffuse Axonal Brain Injuries After a Car Crash
For mild injuries where the victim is conscious, doctors can sometimes diagnose a diffuse axonal brain injury simply by asking a variety of questions about how the injury occurred and the types of symptoms that the patient is experiencing. The patient is also asked questions that are designed to test his or her cognitive ability.
Unfortunately, most victims of severe diffuse axonal brain injuries are unconscious and unable to respond to these questions. As a result, other tests are used in order to diagnose the injury.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Also Known as an MRI
For this test, doctors use magnets, radio waves, and a computer screen to show detailed cross-sections of the brain. MRI testing is widely considered the ideal test for determining whether a diffuse axonal brain injury occurred after a car accident.
When performing a CT scan, doctors use an x-ray machine and a computer monitor in order to show detailed images of the interior of the brain. Unfortunately, these tests can also produce false negatives. For this reason, a CT scan alone cannot be relied upon to diagnose a diffuse axonal brain injury.
Evoked Potentials, Commonly Referred to as SSEP, BAER, and VEP
For these tests, doctors look at the visual, auditory, and sensory pathways in the brain in order to diagnose a diffuse axonal brain injury.
Electroencephalogram, Also Known as an EEG
EEG’s are used to measure the electrical activity in the brain in order to assess a diffuse axonal brain injury.
For victims of diffuse axonal brain injuries, recovery can be a long and daunting process. It is important for victims to know that they are not alone. We encourage you to check out our free guide, the Brain Injury Survivor’s Guide, for more information.