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How Long Does Traumatic Brain Injury Last For?

About Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?

Traumatic Brain Injury is a potentially serious medical condition in which the functioning of the brain gets affected after a head injury. A Traumatic Brain Injury results after an individual is hit on the head with great force. TBI may also result from a fall off of a decent height striking the head on the floor, a motor vehicle crash in which the head is hit on the steering wheel or the dashboard with great force, a direct blow to the head from a blunt object as a result of domestic violence, or being hit by a ball during a baseball game.

A mild Traumatic Brain Injury such as being hit by a ball may cause minimal cognitive issues which resolves within a matter of a few days to weeks and the individual becomes normal after that. In cases of a moderate Traumatic Brain Injury, there is a bit more damage done to the brain than a mild injury and the executive and cognitive function of the individual may be affected. This may require sustained therapy and treatment and takes a little bit more time to get back to normal activities.

In cases of a severe Traumatic Brain Injury such as after a high speed motor vehicle collision, the overall prognosis of the individual is decided by whether the individual regains consciousness. In severe cases, there is bleeding, swelling, and bruising of the brain along with damage to the brain tissue, which causes significant damage to the brain function as a result of which the individual may go into coma.

This is an indicator of a poor prognosis of the individual and even if the individual regains consciousness, then one will be permanently disabled and require 24-hour assistance for activities of daily living, as the damage caused to the brain in such cases is permanent.

How Long Does Traumatic Brain Injury Last For?

How Long Does Traumatic Brain Injury Last For?

This is a sort of question, which even the best of neurologists or neurosurgeons cannot answer for sure. There are cases where an individual suffers from a mild traumatic brain injury, gets better and is discharged from the hospital within a few hours, and carries on with normal activities of daily living only to find some months later that there has been some change in his or her cognitive and executive functioning.

There are also cases where an individual has sustained severe traumatic brain injury and is in a comatose state, but not only does that individual wake up from the coma, but goes on to live a life independently without any deficits.

Thus, for the first six months after a Traumatic Brain Injury it is extremely difficult to predict an outcome or answer the question for sure as to how long the symptoms will last. Every physician has their own estimate as to how long the traumatic brain injury will last. Some physicians may suggest depending on the extent of the injury and the recovery of the patient that it may take around six months for an individual to fully recover while it may take longer for some individuals.

Some neuropsychologists use certain neuropsychological tests to find out about the extent of recovery of the individual with traumatic brain injury. This test analyses the changes in thinking and memory along with overall behavior pattern of the individual. These tests indicate that there is always improvement noted within the first two years after the injury. These scores start to settle down after a period of two years of the traumatic brain injury. This does not necessarily mean that individuals stop improving after a time span of two years after a traumatic brain injury. There may still be improvements noted but those improvements may be very little.

In conclusion, it is extremely difficult to predict as to how long traumatic brain injury will last for. This usually depends on the extent of the injury and damage to the brain. While some patients show some problems even after six months of injury, some individuals may not show any dysfunction at all either cognitively or functionally. It normally takes around 6 to 9 months to completely recover from a traumatic brain injury, but normally improvements continue up to two years following a traumatic brain injury.

References:

  1. Mayo Clinic. (2021). Traumatic Brain Injury. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/traumatic-brain-injury/symptoms-causes/syc-20378557
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2021). Traumatic Brain Injury & Concussion.https://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/index.html
  3. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. (2019). Traumatic Brain Injury: Hope Through Research.https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Hope-Through-Research/Traumatic-Brain-Injury-Hope-Through
  4. American Association of Neurological Surgeons. (2021). Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).https://www.aans.org/Patients/Neurosurgical-Conditions-and-Treatments/Traumatic-Brain-Injury

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Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 23, 2023

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