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How Long Does a Traumatic Brain Injury Last?

Traumatic brain injuries are commonly caused by car accidents, leaving victims with lingering pain, limited mobility, and impaired judgment. Those diagnosed with TBIs have no shortage of concerns or questions. They often wonder how long a TBI lasts, what their treatment options are, and how much it will cost. Knowing the duration of TBIs and what to expect from recovery can help victims move through this process peacefully.

Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injuries can be categorized in several different ways. The type of brain injury you sustain is a primary factor in the duration of your injury and your prognosis. Injuries are commonly categorized in these ways:

  • Primary vs. secondary. A primary injury is one that occurs at the time of the accident or event. For example, you may sustain a blood clot, a skull fracture, or a contusion at the time of the accident. A secondary TBI is one that occurs due to physiological changes caused by the accident. Examples include hydrocephalus and ischemia.
  • Closed vs. penetrating. A closed injury is one in which the dura, the outer layer of the meninges, is intact. A penetrating injury is one that impacts dura. A penetrating TBI may occur when a bone fragment, knife, or projectile cuts through the dura.
  • Mild vs. moderate vs. severe. Mild injuries are those that produce normal brain imaging results and include a brief loss of consciousness. A moderate TBI results in a loss of consciousness that lasts between one and 24 hours. Severe TBIs result in a loss of consciousness or coma for more than 24 hours.

The Period of Maximum Recovery

In the days and weeks following a traumatic brain injury, it is very difficult to know the likely prognosis or longevity of the injury. A patient who appears to be recovering well in the days following an accident could take a sudden turn for the worse, and a patient with a severe TBI could unexpectedly make a full recovery.

However, there is a point at which a patient reaches their limit of recovery. Neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to adapt to trauma or other changes, plays a part in determining how much a patient can recover full function.

Among clinical practitioners, there is some disagreement about how long it takes to estimate a patient’s ability to recover. Some believe in a 24-month rule, stating that the amount of progress a patient makes in 24 months is likely the most they will recover. Doctors often determine maximum recovery with frequent brain scans. By figuring out when brain structures have stopped changing, they can assess how much more healing is likely to occur.

Average Healing and Recovery Times

It should come as no surprise that the severity of your TBI is a primary factor in your healing and recovery time. Those with mild traumatic brain injuries generally have the quickest recovery times, often healing in a matter of days or weeks. Those with moderate and severe traumatic brain injuries could have much longer paths in front of them. Much is determined during the first six months after an injury. Medical specialists indicate that better outcomes are associated with early intervention. Patients who receive consistent, ongoing treatment generally enjoy much better outcomes than those who receive delayed care or do not have access to rehabilitative care.

The Cost of TBIs

It’s clear that positive outcomes are related to high-quality care. However, since TBIs are different for every patient, patients need a substantial amount of care. From brain scans and functionality assessments to rehabilitative treatment and medications, the costs of a traumatic brain injury can be astronomical. This is why it is so important to reach out to a personal injury lawyer if your TBI was caused by someone else’s negligence. If they are liable for your injuries, they could be required to pay your medical bills and other expenses related to your injury.

Get Help for Your TBI—Call Us Today Healing from a traumatic brain injury can be a long, painful process. You shouldn’t have to deal with legal issues on top of everything else you are going through. With the help of Burns, Cunningham & Mackey, P.C., you can fight for your right to compensation. Learn more about your op

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