how well do children recover from traumatic brain injuries part 2

Our last post talked about recovery time for children who suffer traumatic brain injuries. Studies show that children who suffer TBI typically recover more fully than adults who suffer traumatic brain injuries. Moreover, according to the director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair in Pennsylvania, “The younger [kids] tend to do better than the older ones. That’s because the younger you are, the more plastic your brain is. That makes it easier for the brain to rewire.”

But does that mean that young children who suffer traumatic brain injuries because of medical malpractice will make a full recovery? Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

The biggest thing that impacts how well a person will recover from TBI is the type of brain injury suffered. If the injury sites of the brain are isolated, a child has a better chance of recovery than if the whole brain is injured.

Previously, doctors thought that children could fully recover from TBI because children who had epilepsy had large portions of their brains surgically removed, and their brains rewired and functioned properly. However, when a child suffers TBI, it can damage cells throughout the brain, rather than in an isolated area, which makes it difficult for the brain to rewire itself.

Because the brain continues to rewire for years, long-term rehabilitation is usually beneficial. Rehabilitation can help the brain continue to rewire and can help the brain create strategies for other lasting problems.

Unfortunately, if enough of the brain is damaged, there may be too few uninjured brain cells left to allow the brain to rewire. Treatment options have advanced significantly, but when young children suffer brain injuries because of lack of oxygen to the brain or surgical mistakes, the impact can be permanent and life-altering for a person who should have had a long, healthy life in store.

Source: Vitals on msnbc.com, “Kids’ brain injuries can cause lingering problems for years, study finds,” Linda Carroll, Jan. 23, 2012

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