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A brain injury can change your life in an instant — from the way you think to the way you act.

If you or a loved one has a brain injury, the experts at University of Missouri Health Care offer a full range of treatment, from medical care to rehabilitation and therapy.

What is traumatic brain injury?

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) happens when a sudden trauma damages the brain. This could occur when the head suddenly and violently hits an object or when an object pierces the skull and enters brain tissue.

Brain injury is different, and more serious, than a concussion, though it shares many of the same symptoms. These can include confusion, dizziness, headaches, memory problems, mood changes, nausea and unusual sleeping patterns.

Mild brain injury looks similar to concussion and often only temporarily affects your brain. Traumatic brain injury, on the other hand, often results in severe damage to the brain, and if patients survive, it can lead to long-term complications.

How is traumatic brain injury treated?

Many people who suffer injuries that result in a traumatic brain injury are first treated by our trauma team through the Emergency Department. This could be from a car crash or other violent trauma.

Next, our experts in physical medicine and rehabilitation, neurosurgery, neuropsychology, and therapy work together to evaluate patients and consult with family members to create a personalized treatment and rehabilitation plan. This plan could include medical care, psychological therapy, education and planning for return to work and driving. When needed, we work with other specialities such as neurology to provide the care needed to recover from a traumatic brain injury.

What are common complications of traumatic brain injury?

Our team is experienced in treating these complications that often are associated with traumatic brain injury:

  • Behavior problems. Traumatic brain injury can affect behavior and thinking, and our experts can help with neuropharmacology (medication), neurotransmitter treatment (dealing with the brain chemicals that send information through the brain and body) or psychological therapy services.
  • Brain aneurysm. This happens when there is weakness in a blood vessel in the brain that causes the vessel to balloon out and fill with blood.
  • Headaches. These are common after a traumatic brain injury and might begin right after the injury and could last for several months.
  • Hypoxia/anoxia encephalopathy. This condition occurs when the brain can’t get oxygen. The result is brain damage.
  • Metabolic encephalopathy. This takes place when something — such as an infection, organ failure or exposure to a toxic substance — causes the body’s hormones, electrolytes and other chemicals to become unbalanced. This affects brain function.
  • Seizures. These can occur in response to changes in the brain from the trauma that caused the traumatic brain injury. 
  • Viral encephalopathy. Viral encephalopathy is when a virus causes the brain to become inflamed.