When you are diagnosed with a brain injury, it is likely you will have a team of doctors working together on your care. The names sound similar, most starting with ‘neuro,’ which means relating to the nerves or nervous system (the vast network of nerves that sends signals and impulses between the brain and body parts). To make things easier to process, we have made a list of the medical professionals you may get to know along your recovery from a brain injury.
A neurologist is someone who specializes in treatment of diseases of the nervous system. This branch of medicine can encompass the brain, the spinal cord, and the nerves. A neurologist will become involved in the emergency room setting and is trained to make diagnosis of ailments involving the brain.
Neuropharmacologists study how prescription drugs interact with nerve cells and affect human behavior. They monitor medications used for management of behavioral, cognitive and affective disorders in people with brain injury. Medications are generally prescribed sparingly because of the potential for medications to impede the natural process of rehabilitation. Before any drugs will be prescribed, the patient will need to undergo a thorough assessment to determine the exact disorder.
A neuropsychologist is a sub-specialty of psychology that specializes in the treatment of patients with brain injuries. They have advanced training in identifying how brain injuries affect behavior. Neuropsychologists will frequently use specialized tests to assess cognitive defects and frequently are involved in planning treatment strategies for improving damaged brain function. They might also become involved in helping you or your loved ones learn to live with a brain injury.
Neuroradiologists are key players in the diagnosis of brain injury and monitoring rehabilitation and brain activity. They use imaging tests such as CT, MRI, PET, x-ray, angiograms and ultrasound to identify abnormalities in the brain, spine, spinal cord and neck. They then interpret the images to make a diagnosis and so other neuro specialists can create a plan for treatment.
A neurosurgeon is a surgeon who specializes in procedures on the brain or nerves including congenital anomalies, tumors, vascular disorders, infections of the spine or brain, stroke, or degenerative diseases of the brain or spine. Most brain injury patients do not need the services of a neurosurgeon because most brain injuries do not require surgical intervention.
Neurosurgeons get involved when they are needed to remove a clot in the brain or relieve pressure in the brain by drilling holes in the skull and installing stents. When neurosurgeons are utilized in treating a brain injury, they usually follow their patients over long periods of time, consulting with other neuro-specialty doctors about your treatment.
In addition to the above mentioned specialists you may find that you will have to see other doctors along the road to recovery and learning to live with a brain injury. For example you may have to see psychiatrist, a speech/language pathologist, or a vocational rehabilitation counselor. Recovering from a brain injury takes time and can be stressful.
Legal Help After a Brain Injury
If you or a loved one is suffering from a brain injury after an accident and need guidance on how to proceed, give us a call. We understand the complexity of the process can be extremely overwhelming to tackle on your own. You don’t have to do it alone. We have a legal team who is experienced in handling brain injury cases and helping people like you.