4 Types of Brain Injuries and 3 Levels of Severity

4 Types of Brain Injuries and 3 Levels of Severity

Approximately 2.5 million Americans sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI) each year, but not all of these individuals experience the same kind of outcome. About 50,000 will die from their TBIs, while another 80,000 will suffer from permanent disabilities. The remaining individuals will experience a wide variety of symptoms and complications.

Because of the variety among TBI victims’ experiences, there are various ways you, your medical team, and others can describe your traumatic brain injury. Accurately classifying your TBI helps you and your medical providers communicate more clearly about your injury and prognosis.

General Traumatic Brain Injuries 

Before discussing how you and others can more accurately describe traumatic brain injuries, it is helpful to first answer the overarching question: “What does TBI mean?” No matter the severity or the means through which it is inflicted, an injury can be accurately described as a TBI when damage is done to your brain as the result of some traumatic event. (As such, that excludes brain damage that is the result of substance abuse, an illness, or a genetic condition.)

If you hit your head in any sort of accident and you are not sure whether you sustained a TBI, it is wise to get to a hospital or contact your doctor for advice and an evaluation as soon as possible. It is especially important to seek medical treatment if you lose consciousness, even if only for a few moments. Medical imaging of your brain is the only way to know for sure whether you’ve sustained a TBI.

No matter the type of TBI you sustain, your chance of making a full recovery only improves the quicker you get medical help. Moreover, damage that might not be severe at first can worsen over time if you put off receiving medical assistance.

The Four Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries

One way to distinguish traumatic brain injuries from one another is to classify them according to the circumstances surrounding the trauma and the type of injury sustained as a result. Through these methods, there are four types of TBI one may experience:

Blunt Force Trauma Brain Injuries

In the event of a blunt force TBI, your brain sustains harm as the result of some object striking your head, such as being hit on the head by a falling object, slipping and falling, or knocking your head against something like a steering wheel. Your skull generally absorbs the physical force of the impact, but some forceful impacts can still penetrate your skull and affect your brain.

Piercing Brain Injuries

Unlike TBIs caused by blunt force trauma, a piercing TBI is sustained when a foreign object pierces your skull and directly damages your brain. Knife attacks and accidents involving sharp tools on a job site are two common examples of scenarios that lead to piercing TBIs.

Anoxic Brain Injuries

An anoxic brain injury occurs when your brain’s supply of oxygen is interrupted. Like any other organ, your brain needs oxygen to survive, and without it, its cells will die within a few minutes. Permanent brain damage can result in as little as four minutes, and death can follow shortly thereafter. Drownings and near-drownings are the most common experiences that cause these types of TBIs.

Diffuse Axonal Brain Injuries

Within your skull, your brain sits suspended in a clear fluid (known as cerebrospinal fluid) and is covered by several layers of membrane. While that arrangement helps cushion your brain and protect it from harm, violently moving your head from one side to the other or from front to back can cause the axons of your brain — thin fibers that help neurons in your brain communicate with one another — to sustain damage. The sort of trauma required to inflict these sorts of injuries most commonly occurs in car accidents.

The Three Levels of Traumatic Brain Injury

In addition to describing a TBI in accordance with the type of injury sustained, it can also be classified according to three traumatic brain injury categories regarding severity. These three types of TBI severity are as follows:

Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries

The first of the three types of TBI severity is mild. The effects of a mild TBI are temporary, and they can be expected to resolve completely on their own with time. With a mild TBI, you will not experience any lasting impairment or limitation from your injury. However, until it fully heals, you may experience symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.

Moderate Traumatic Brain Injuries

Moderate TBIs occupy the second of the three TBI levels of severity. With one, it becomes possible that you may not fully recover from your injury and instead be left with some cognitive or functional limitations, such as memory loss or persistent headaches. While those with moderate TBIs typically maintain their independence, some may require accommodations at work or assistance at home.

Severe Traumatic Brain Injuries

The last of the TBI levels is severe. These injuries are permanent and will last for the rest of the victim’s life. In addition, they have a significant impact on the victim’s ability to function independently. Such an individual might experience permanent memory loss, behavioral changes, or an inability to care for themselves.

No Two TBIs Are the Same

Your experience with a TBI will be unique from anyone else’s, even if their TBI is classified in the same way as yours. You should not assume that just because someone else did not experience moderate or severe consequences, you will not face those types of complications. 

Similarly, a friend or family member who sustained a blunt-force brain injury and who did not seek medical attention should not serve as your example should you suffer the same fate.

Knowing How To Talk About Your TBI

By understanding the ways in which the medical community classifies and talks about TBIs, you can have more thoughtful and productive discussions with your medical team. Knowing the TBI levels of severity can help you understand the harm you sustained and can inform the questions you ask your provider. Similarly, being able to describe how your brain injury occurred can assist your medical team in promptly diagnosing your injury and its severity and forming a treatment plan.

Get In Contact With An Experiened Brain Injury Lawyer At Noonan Personal Injury Lawyers, LLC

Speak with a local personal injury lawyer at Noonan Personal Injury Lawyers, LLC for support, advice, and guidance. Should you have a viable claim, a lawyer can help you get damages for your injuries and losses, including monetary recovery for your medical bills and lost wages. Getting compensation can help you focus on your recovery and relieve some of the undo stress caused by your injuries. Contact us for a free initial consultation.

Noonan Personal Injury Lawyers, LLC – Freehold Office
35 Court St 1A, Freehold, NJ 07728
(732) 515 3996