A traumatic brain injury can have a wide range of physical and psychological effects. Typically, signs and symptoms are going to show up immediately, but there are others that can appear days or even weeks later. There are also several complications that can occur immediately or soon after a traumatic brain injury. Severe injuries increase the risk of a greater number of more severe complications. Here are some of the complications that can arise:
- Coma: a person in a coma is unconscious, unaware of anything, and unable to respond to any stimulus. This is often the result of widespread damage to all parts of the brain. A person may merge with, or enter a vegetative state, depending on the extent of the damage.
- Vegetative state: when there’s widespread damage in the brain, this can result in a vegetative state. Although the person is unaware of surroundings, he or she may open their eyes, make sounds, respond to reflexes, or move. While it is possible that a vegetative state can become permanent, often individuals progress to a minimally conscious state after a few weeks.
- Minimally conscious state: Minimally conscious state is where the patient has some signs of self-awareness or awareness of one’s environment. During this stage, it can go from transitioning from a vegetative condition to greater recovery.
- Brain death: When there is no measurable activity in the brain and the brain stem this is when is called brain death. When a person has been declared brain-dead, they are typically removed from all breathing devices and death shortly follows.
- Seizures: There are some people up will develop seizures after a traumatic brain injury. The seizures may occur only during the early stages of recovery or even years after the injury. The current seizures are called posttraumatic epilepsy.
- Infections: when there are skull fractures or penetrating wounds, the risk of infection goes up. The tear in the protective layers can enable bacteria to enter the brain and cause infections. An infection could spread to the rest of the nervous system if not treated immediately.
- Headaches: One of the most common physical complications that arises is headaches. These may begin within a week after the injury or even several months after the injury has occurred.