Neurosciences

Traumatic Brain Injury

UTMB Health provides comprehensive, continuous care to patients with all types of brain injuries, including traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Patients with TBI will be cared for by a multidisciplinary care team that includes specialists, physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians, speech, physical, and occupational therapists, all of whom collaborate to enhance the recovery process and limit disability.

UTMB cares for patients with traumatic brain injury in its dedicated Neuroscience Critical Care Unit (NCCU), one of only three neuro-ICUs in the Houston area specially equipped to treat patients with traumatic brain injury.

We partner with the Moody Neurorehabilitation Institute (formerly known as the Transitional Learning Center), a national pioneer in post-acute care for patients with acquired brain injury, located in Galveston, Texas.

About Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury (TBI), a form of acquired brain injury, occurs when a sudden trauma causes damage to the brain. TBI can result when the head suddenly and violently hits an object, or when an object pierces the skull and enters brain tissue. Symptoms of a TBI can be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the extent of the damage to the brain.

A person with a mild TBI may remain conscious or may experience a loss of consciousness for a few seconds or minutes. Other symptoms of mild TBI include headache, confusion, lightheadedness, dizziness, blurred vision or tired eyes, ringing in the ears, bad taste in the mouth, fatigue or lethargy, a change in sleep patterns, behavioral or mood changes, and trouble with memory, concentration, attention, or thinking.

A person with a moderate or severe TBI may show these same symptoms, but may also have a headache that gets worse or does not go away, repeated vomiting or nausea, convulsions or seizures, an inability to awaken from sleep, dilation of one or both pupils of the eyes, slurred speech, weakness or numbness in the extremities, loss of coordination, and increased confusion, restlessness, or agitation.

Anyone with signs of moderate or severe TBI should receive medical attention as soon as possible. Because little can be done to reverse the initial brain damage caused by trauma, medical personnel try to stabilize an individual with TBI and focus on preventing further injury. Primary concerns include insuring proper oxygen supply to the brain and the rest of the body, maintaining adequate blood flow, and controlling blood pressure. Imaging tests, such as computed tomography (CT) scan, help in determining the diagnosis and prognosis of a TBI patient.

Moderately to severely injured patients receive rehabilitation that involves individually tailored treatment programs in the areas of physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech/language therapy, physical medicine, psychology/psychiatry, and social support.

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