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Difference Between Mild, Moderate and Severe Brain Injuries

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Posted on August 14, 2022

Brain injuries are complex. There is still much to be discovered about how the brain works, responds to injury and heals. The primary factor in determining how much a brain injury will impact a victim is the severity of the damage to the brain. When a doctor diagnoses a traumatic brain injury (TBI), he or she will classify it as mild, moderate or severe based on the extent of the damage. This distinction can help predict how much the brain injury will impact the individual.

Mild Brain Injuries

Mild brain injuries are the least severe type. Keep in mind, however, that neurologists say there is no such thing as a minor brain injury. Even injuries that are classified as minor can have a major effect on the brain and result in symptoms that affect the patient’s life.

Mild brain injuries tend to have lighter symptoms than moderate to severe brain injuries. There may be no loss of consciousness, for example, or only a brief unconscious state (less than five minutes). Other symptoms can include nausea, dizziness, feeling dazed or confused, trouble sleeping, headaches, and mood swings.

A concussion is an example of a mild TBI. Diagnosing a mild brain injury is difficult, as this level of damage is often not visible on imaging tests such as an MRI or CT scan. Doctors often diagnose mild brain injuries based on a physical exam of the patient and an overview of his or her symptoms.

Moderate Brain Injuries

Moderate brain injuries are between the mild and severe levels. It describes more significant damage than mild brain trauma – damage that is often visible on neuroimaging tests. However, the damage is not as immense as with a severe TBI. The effects of a moderate brain injury can be physical, cognitive and behavioral. Moderate brain injuries often lead to unconsciousness for longer than just a few minutes.

Other signs of brain trauma are also present, such as persistent or severe headache, repeated vomiting or lasting nausea, pupil dilation, slurred speech, confusion, memory loss, and unusual behaviors. Treating a moderate brain injury often requires a period of rest to help the brain heal, followed by light activity and good nutrition. The patient may also take medicine for pain relief.

Severe Brain Injuries

A severe brain injury is the worst type of TBI. It describes a level of damage to the brain that may be long-lasting or permanent. Severe brain injuries often come with symptoms such as unconsciousness for more than 24 hours, coma, convulsions, seizures, clear fluids draining from the ears or nose, tingling or weakness in the fingers and toes, loss of coordination, and profound confusion.

Severe brain injury treatments may include brain surgery and a medically induced coma to allow the brain to focus only on healing. The prognosis for a severe TBI is generally not positive. Most survivors of severe brain injuries suffer from permanent brain damage. This can cause irreversible changes in how the individual thinks, behaves, communicates, moves and feels.

A severe brain injury may cause irreversible damage to the brain’s cells, although a patient may be able to regain some independence and abilities with treatments such as rehabilitation and therapy. In the worst cases, a severe TBI can be fatal.

Filing a Lawsuit for a Brain Injury in Florida

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a mild, moderate or severe traumatic brain injury in Florida, speak to a Tampa brain injury lawyer at Vanguard Attorneys for free today. If someone carelessly, recklessly or maliciously caused your brain injury, you may qualify for financial compensation. Even if your injury has been classified as minor, you may receive a settlement or judgment award for your medical costs, ongoing health care, medications, therapies, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Contact us now.