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How Is the Severity of a Traumatic Brain Injury Determined?

If you or someone you know has recently suffered from a traumatic brain injury (TBI), it’s crucial to understand the severity of the injury. Diagnosing the severity of a TBI plays a key role in determining the necessary medical treatment and rehabilitation, and doctors rely on the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) for diagnosis. Read on to learn about how the severity of a TBI is determined, as well as the characteristics of the different classifications.

The Glasgow Coma Scale

The Glasgow Coma Scale is a standardized system used to assess the neurological status of a patient with a TBI. The GCS considers a patient’s ability to open their eyes, verbal responses, and motor responses. The maximum score on the GCS is 15, with the lowest possible score being three. A score of 8 or lower typically indicates a severe TBI, while a score between 9 and 12 indicates a moderate TBI. A score between 13 and 15 indicates mild TBI.

TBI Classifications

Suffering from a traumatic brain injury can be a difficult and scary process for anyone. It is important to remember, however, that there are different severities of TBI and each individual’s journey towards recovery is unique. Here’s a breakdown of the common characteristics of each level of TBI:

Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI)

A mild TBI generally does not cause a loss of consciousness. If a person loses consciousness, it is for less than 30 minutes. The GCS score for a mild TBI is between 13 and 15. Fortunately, with the right course of treatment, most people with a mild TBI experience a full recovery within a few weeks. Some of the common symptoms include:

  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Mood Swings

Moderate Traumatic Brain Injury (modTBI)

A moderate TBI can result in unconsciousness for more than 30 minutes, and some individuals could be unconscious for up to 24 hours. People who have a moderate TBI receive a GCS score between 9 and 12, and rehabilitation is often necessary for a full recovery. Some common symptoms of a moderate TBI include:

  • Memory Loss
  • Mood Swings
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Severe Traumatic Brain Injury (sTBI)

People who receive a GCS score of 8 or lower after an injury are typically diagnosed with a severe TBI. It’s characterized by a loss of consciousness for more than 24 hours, with memory loss lasting for more than 7 days. The symptoms of a severe TBI can be the same as a mild TBI and moderate TBI, but they’re typically more intense. Often, patients with a severe TBI can have several symptoms at once.

Rehabilitation and—in many cases—long-term medical care is necessary to treat severe TBI. With the right course of treatment, many patients can enjoy a full recovery.

Impact Medical Group Is Your Partner in TBI Recovery

If you’ve experienced a TBI, the impact on your life can be significant, including necessary medical treatment, rehabilitation, and recovery time. The caring medical team at Impact Medical Group of Sarasota is your partner in recovery. Our TBI specialists can diagnose and treat TBI—we’re with you every step of the way as you navigate the recovery process. Call us today at (941) 222-1157 to schedule your free medical evaluation.