CT SCAN or MRI – Which best detects traumatic brain injury?

CT SCAN or MRI – Which best detects traumatic brain injury?
September 25, 2014 jamesludlow

After an obvious blow to their head in a motor vehicle crash or fall, many victims will have a trip to the hospital emergency room and a CT scan taken of their brain.  However, if the CT scan is interpreted as normal, and the patient can walk and talk without great difficulty, the patient is usually sent home and told they will be fine.  However, many such patients continue to have symptoms of traumatic brain injury such as memory issues, irritability, headache, and difficulties with concentration.

Brain CT scans are useful in detecting bleeding or hemorrhage within the brain that require immediate surgery to save the patient’s life.  However, brain CT is not very sensitive in detecting smaller hemorrhages with the brain that may not be life threatening, but that can result in long-term cognitive impairment.  Understanding the nature and extent of the brain injury is also important in determining what subsequent medical treatment should take place, as well as what is likely to be the patient’s long-term prognosis.

Fortunately, an MRI of the brain is much more accurate in detecting smaller hemorrhage within the brain as compared to a CT scan.  This is especially true with injury to the nerve fibers of the brain called diffuse axonal injury.  Thus, if you or a loved one has suffered a significant blow to the head and the injury person is still “not quite right”, an MRI of the brain should be requested right away.   In a subsequent blog article, I will also discuss the type of MRI scan that should be requested.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, having a lawyer who understands the medical issues that are involved with that injury can make a big difference in convincing the liability insurance company to pay what they rightfully owe.  Call the law office of James F. Ludlow for a free consultation regarding your injury and how we can help. My firm can be reached toll-free at (877) 897-9466 or by filling out the simple form on the Contact Us page.