New research encourages orthopaedic doctors to play a proactive role in diagnosing and treating mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) patients.
Because orthopaedic injuries and mTBI are often suffered at the same time. Common causes include falls or motor vehicle accidents.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons reports than an estimated 50% of patients with orthopaedic injuries have concurrent mTBI.
So if an orthopaedic doctor is treating a patient for a broken arm after a fall, they should also check for a concussion.
Orthopaedic surgeon Andrew Rosenbaum says that, in addition to treating bone and joint injuries, orthopaedic doctors can ensure patients are referred to doctors with expertise in managing mTBI.
He also notes that patients with mTBI must be made aware of the dangers of second-impact syndrome. Second-impact syndrome occurs when the brain sustains a second mTBI before the first one has completely healed. “Second-impact syndrome can have devastating consequences, including rapid-onset swelling of the brain; worsening function of the brain, spinal cord, muscles or nerves; and instability of normal body functions.”
There are over one million mTBIs every year in the United States.
Mild TBI can temporarily alter one’s mental state by causing confusion, perceptual impairments, or behavioural changes. Approximately 80% of patients who sustain an mTBI fully recover. But it can go undiagnosed if symptoms do not appear until a patient resumes everyday life. When symptoms last for more than three months, a patient is said to have post-concussion syndrome, a disorder associated with financial, social, and emotional challenges.
For More Information:
- A Silent Epidemic: Minor Traumatic Brain Injury, Science Daily
- Minor Traumatic Brain Injury: A Primer for the Orthopaedic Surgeon, Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons