Brain and Spine Trauma/Injury Surgery

Brain & Spine Trauma/Injury Surgery

Brain & Spine Trauma Injury Surgery

Brain and spine trauma refers to injuries or incidents that impact a person’s brain or spinal cord. Small babies may suffer injuries as a result of forcible head shaking or jerking. Injuries from falls, auto accidents, sports, or other incidents sometimes result in brain and spine trauma in youngsters.

Symptoms of Brain and Spine Trauma/Injury

Depending on the type and extent of the damage, the signs and symptoms of brain and spine trauma might differ. Concerning symptoms include confusion, loss of consciousness, nausea, vomiting, loss of movement or feeling, difficulty balancing or walking, loss of bowel or bladder control, and pain or pressure in the back, neck, or head. Brain and spine surgery becomes necessary in cases of severe accidents and injuries.

What Causes Brain and Spine Injury?

Many things can cause acute brain and spine injuries. The more common injuries occur when the area of the spine or neck is bent or compressed, as in the following:

  • Falls
  • Motor vehicle accidents (automobiles, motorcycles, and being struck as a pedestrian)
  • Sports injuries
  • Diving accidents
  • Trampoline accidents
  • Violence (gunshot or stab wounds)
  • Infections that form an abscess on the spinal cord
  • Birth injuries, which typically affect the spinal cord in the neck area
Brain and Spine Injury Surgery

Can Brain and Spine Injuries Be Prevented?

There is no sure way to prevent SCI, but there are many steps you can take that might lower your risk, including:

  • Don’t drive when you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Always wear a seat belt while in a vehicle.
  • Take precautions to avoid falls around your home.
  • Keep firearms unloaded and locked away.
  • Wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle or participating in any sports or activities that may result in head injury (bike riding, skiing, hockey, football, etc.)

Brain and spine trauma injury requires surgical treatments for pain relief and normal functioning, just like brain and spinal tumor surgery.

What is an Acute Spinal Cord Injury?

Your spine is made of many bones called vertebrae. Your spinal cord runs downward through a canal in the center of these bones. The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that carries messages between the brain and the rest of the body for movement and sensation.

Acute spinal cord injury (SCI) is due to a traumatic injury that bruises, partially tears, or completely tears the spinal cord. SCI is a common cause of permanent disability and death in children and adults.

What Are the Risk Factors for Acute Spinal Cord Injury?

Some people are at higher risk for SCI than others. The average age at the time of injury has increased over the past few decades and is currently 42 years. Most people who suffer SCIs are male. Non-Hispanic whites are at higher risk for SCI than any other ethnic group.

What Are the Symptoms of an Acute Spinal Cord Injury?

Symptoms of an acute SCI can vary widely. The location of the injury on the spinal cord determines what part of the body is affected and how severe the symptoms are.

Right after a spinal cord injury, your spine may be in shock. This causes loss or decreased feeling, muscle movement, and reflexes. But, as swelling eases, other symptoms may appear depending on the location of the injury.

  • Quadriplegia is a loss of function in the arms and legs.
  • Paraplegia is a loss of function in the legs and lower body.

The extent of the damage to the spinal cord determines whether the injury is complete or incomplete.

  • A complete injury means that there is no movement or feeling below the level of the injury.
  • An incomplete injury means that there is still some degree of feeling or movement below the level of the injury.

These are the most common symptoms of acute spinal cord injuries:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Loss of voluntary muscle movement in the chest, arms, or legs
  • Breathing problems
  • Loss of feeling in the chest, arms, or legs
  • Loss of bowel and bladder function

The symptoms of SCI may look like other medical conditions or problems.

spine and brain injury surgery

How Are Acute Spinal Cord Injuries Diagnosed?

  • Acute SCI is a medical emergency. Emergency evaluation is needed anytime there is a suspected injury to the spinal cord. The effects of an SCI may not be clear at first. A full medical evaluation and testing are needed. The diagnosis of SCI starts with a physical exam and diagnostic tests. During the exam, the healthcare provider will ask about your medical history and how the injury occurred. A spinal cord injury can cause ongoing neurological problems that require further medical follow-up. Sometimes, surgery is needed to stabilize the spinal cord after acute SCI. Diagnostic tests may include:
    • Blood tests
    • X-ray. This test uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of internal tissues, bones, and organs onto film.
    • Computed tomography scan (also called a CT or CAT scan). An imaging test that uses X-rays and computer technology to produce detailed images (often called slices) of the body. A CT scan shows images of any body part, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are more detailed than general X-rays.
    • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): This test uses large magnets, radio frequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body.

In Texas, you may visit Dr. Abdul Baker for advanced and accurate testing and treatment for brain and spine injuries.

How is An Acute Spinal Cord Injury Treated?

SCI requires emergency medical attention on the scene of the accident or injury. After an injury, your head and neck will be immobilized to prevent movement. This may be very hard when you are frightened after a serious accident.

Specific treatment for an acute spinal cord injury is based on the following:

  • Age, overall health, and medical history
  • The extent of the SCI
  • Type of SCI
  • How you respond to initial treatment
  • The expected course of the SCI
  • Your opinion or preference

There is currently no way to repair a damaged or bruised spinal cord. But, researchers are actively seeking ways to stimulate spinal cord regeneration. The severity of the SCI and the location determine if the SCI is mild, severe, or fatal.

Surgery is sometimes needed to evaluate the spinal cord, stabilize fractured backbones, release pressure from the injured area, and manage any other injuries that may have resulted from the accident. Your treatment may include the following:

  • Observation and medical management in the intensive care unit (ICU)
  • Medicines, such as corticosteroids (to help decrease the swelling in the spinal cord)
  • Mechanical ventilator, a breathing machine (to help you breathe)
  • Bladder catheter. A tube placed into the bladder helps drain urine into a collection bag.
  • Feeding tube (placed through the nostril to the stomach, or directly through the abdomen into the stomach, to provide extra nutrition and calories)

Recovery from an SCI often requires long-term hospitalization and rehabilitation. An interdisciplinary team of healthcare providers, including nurses, therapists (physical, occupational, or speech), and other specialists, work to control your pain and monitor your heart function, blood pressure, body temperature, nutritional status, bladder and bowel function, and attempt to control involuntary muscle shaking (spasticity).

Living With an Acute Spinal Cord Injury

Recovery from an SCI often requires long-term hospitalization and rehabilitation. Physical therapy will likely be a very important part of your rehabilitation. In this treatment, specialists will work with you to prevent muscle wasting and contractures and help you retrain other muscles to aid mobility and movement. Another type of therapy is occupational therapy, which enables you to learn new ways of doing everyday tasks despite your new physical limitations.

A traumatic event that results in an SCI is devastating to both you and your family. The healthcare team will help educate your family after hospitalization and rehabilitation on how to help care for you at home and understand the specific problems that require immediate medical attention.

You will need frequent medical evaluations and testing after hospitalization and rehabilitation to monitor your progress.

It’s important to focus on maximizing your capabilities at home and in the community.

You may feel sad or depressed after your injury. If this happens to you or a loved one, your healthcare provider may recommend that you see a mental health professional. Antidepressants and psychotherapy, or “talk therapy,” are both available to help treat depression.

When should I Call My Healthcare Provider?

Depending on the severity of the injury, some people might recover some of their lost function, but others might continue to have long-term problems. Be sure to talk with your healthcare provider about when you would need to call them.

Your healthcare provider will likely advise you to call them if any problems you are having worsened, including weakness, numbness, other changes in sensation or changes in bladder or bowel control.

People with serious long-term effects from a spinal cord injury can also develop several other complications. Your healthcare provider might advise you to call them if you have problems such as:

  • Skin sores or infections
  • Trouble breathing
  • Fever, cough, or other signs of infection
  • Severe headache
  • Not urinating regularly or having severe diarrhea or constipation
  • Severe muscle cramps or spasms
  • Increasing pain

Key Points

  • An acute spinal cord injury is caused by trauma to the spinal cord. It is a medical emergency that needs to be treated right away.
  • The severity of symptoms (such as weakness, paralysis, and loss of feeling) depends on how badly the spinal cord is damaged and where on the cord the injury occurs. Damage to the cord in the middle of the back might affect only the legs, whereas damage to the spinal cord in the neck might also affect the arms and even the breathing muscles.
  • Treatment might include surgery, medicine, and other treatments as needed. Some people recover some function over time, but others continue to have long-term problems. Physical and occupational therapy can help you adapt to new ways of doing things.

Trust Dr. Abdul Baker for Brain and Spine Trauma Surgeries

Dr. Abdul Baker is a well-known name in neurosurgery, especially in North Texas. Regarding brain and spine trauma, Dr. Baker performs a wide range of advanced surgical procedures for brain and spine injuries. He is experienced in every latest surgical technique from robotic to minimally invasive techniques. Visit him in Plano and Sherman for consultation and treatment.