How Are Head Injuries Diagnosed?

Diagnosing a head injury on your own is nearly impossible, especially ones that involve the brain. When someone sustains blunt force trauma to the head, it’s typically recommended that they go to the emergency room in order to get head injuries properly diagnosed.

If you or your child is going in to get a potential head injury examined, you may be wondering what techniques your doctor will use. Below, we discuss the various tests that may be run to diagnose head injuries and traumatic brain injuries (TBI).

Head Injuries Diagnosed: The Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS)

The Glasgow Coma Scale is a tool used by physicians to test the levels of consciousness of patients and responses to certain stimuli, specifically in patients who have sustained head trauma.

The GCS tests three key areas, which include a patient’s ability to:

  • Speak. An individual may speak normally, speak in a way that doesn’t make sense, or be unable to speak at all.
  • Open Their Eyes. An individual will be asked to open and close their eyes on command to test this function.
  • Move. An individual may be asked to move certain parts of their body, such as their limbs, in various ranges of motion and will be asked not to move to test possible pain.

Once the tests are performed, the doctor will give the patient a score on a scale from 1 to 15, which typically indicate the following:

  • Mild TBI: Score of 13 or higher
  • Moderate TBI: Score of 9 through 12
  • Severe TBI: Score of 8 or under

Other Types of Testing

Additionally, there are several other forms of tests that doctors may use to diagnose a brain injury, including the severity of it, and decide on a practical treatment plan for the individual:

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): MRIs use a combination of electromagnetic and radio waves to take detailed images of the brain.
  • Computer Tomography (CT) Scans: CT scans use x-ray equipment and computers to create detailed images of the brain, which can then be used to show bruised brain tissue, bleeding in the brain, and other types of brain damage.
  • Speech, Language, and Cognitive Tests: These types of tests can be used in conjunction with special imaging tests to determine a person’s brain function, including a patient’s reasoning, thinking, problem-solving, and understanding abilities.

If you or your loved one sustained a brain injury due to the negligence of another person, Chatham Gilder Howell Pittman can provide you with the legal representation you need to physically, emotionally, and financially recovery. We offer no-fee, no-obligation consultations, so please don’t hesitate to reach out to learn more about your legal options.