Overview of Blast Injury Symptoms and Recovery Time

Dr. Anand Veeravagu outlines the cognitive and physical symptoms that can result from a blast injury as well as the general timeline for recovery.

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[brainlinemilitary - A service of brainline.org] [Anand Veeravagu, MD - Neurosurgeon, Stanford University, White House Fellow, Dept. of Defense] When a service member suffers a traumatic brain injury, whether it's from a blast wave or a direct impact, the range of symptoms are vast. And I think that's part of the reason why diagnosis is so challenging. They could suffer from chronic headaches, double vision, ringing in their ears. They could suffer from difficulty with thinking. And so if you think about the physical impact, like the pain that would be experienced, in combination with the cognitive impacts, like the inability to think, the inability to control emotion, all of those different symptoms can vary depending on the extent and severity of the brain injury. And not every patient will suffer the same symptoms all at the same time. If you think about when patients should be recovering, we usually say that at about 2 to 3 months after a traumatic brain injury— and this really depends on the type—patients should start to see improvement in their symptoms. They should see an improvement in their ability to think clearly, maybe a reduction in headaches, a reduction in the ringing in their ears that they're experiencing. And that's what we have hypothesized is the recovery time for a concussion. Now, if you're talking more severe traumatic brain injuries, then the timeline is very different and the recovery prospects are very different. But in general, we usually see about 2 to 3 months out patients recovering from the symptoms that they suffered from an initial blast or impact injury.
Posted on BrainLine October 21, 2013.

Produced by Christian Lindstrom and Justin Rhodes, BrainLine.