How Do You Know if You Need a CT Scan After Concussion?

A CT scan is a medical imaging test used by physicians to diagnose certain conditions. It combines a series of x-rays and computer technology to create structural images of the body. Immediately following a head injury, a CT scan is commonly used to diagnose suspected bleeding in the brain, swelling of the brain, and skull fractures which may be life threatening and require emergency surgery. Signs and symptoms of bleeding in the brain or a skull fracture include seizures, unequal pupil size, blood or fluid coming from the ear or nose, bruising under the eyes, and repetitive vomiting.

While a CT scan is fast and highly effective in detecting brain bleeding, brain swelling, and skull fractures, it is not effective in detecting a concussion because a concussion affects how the brain works. A concussion or mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) results in microscopic injury to axons (or nerve fibers) not visible on a CT scan. The chemical and electrical changes occurring deep inside the brain that disrupt brain function after concussion are imperceptible on a CT scan.

The disruption of brain function that occurs after mTBI is invisible on a CT scan. A CT scan is expensive, not always practical, or possible, and exposes patients to radiation, which is thought to be especially harmful to children. In fact, children must meet higher symptom criteria before a CT scan is administered. The use of a CT scan is preferably avoided after a head injury unless a more serious injury including a brain bleed or skull fracture is suspected.

Florida personal injury attorney, Jim Dodson is a legal expert in brain injuries. He has over 25 years experience successfully representing brain injury victims. Our law firm welcomes the opportunity to answer your questions and give you guidance on what can be done to help you. Give us a call at 888-815-6398 to schedule a time to discuss your accident case. There is never a fee for a consultation.

Jim Dodson
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A Florida injury lawyer, family man and avid cyclist who clients have trusted for over 25 years.