When a brain injury strikes your baby, what should be the happiest moments for your family are rendered to devastation. Yet while the effects of the brain injury may last a lifetime, there are treatments available to help ease the pain.
At the Brain Injury Law Center in Virginia, our brain damage attorneys are knowledgeable about the most recent forms of brain damage treatment, and we want to make sure you know what to expect as you and your family move forward. We know you want to provide your child with the best life possible.
The treatments a doctor will pursue depend on the severity of the brain damage to your infant. To determine how severe brain damage is, doctors will perform several tests. A physician must first perform a CT scan, MRI or both on the baby. Babies less than two years old will take a test to see if they are capable of having MRIs.
The Glasgow Coma Scale is a popular neurological scale. The Glasgow Coma Scale assesses the conscious state of a person being tested for infant brain damage. For infants 2 or younger, a score of 15 must be achieved to go ahead with a CT scan. If a child scores 15, CT scans are not administered.
Once doctors have made initial assessments, they have a much better understanding of the infant’s brain and what needs to be done.
When Your Baby Needs Surgery
Surgery is typically only performed on infants who have suffered severe infant brain damage. Surgery may be necessary if there is bleeding in the skull cavity. Surgery may also be able to repair fractures, stop bleeding and prevent damage to blood vessels.
Common infant brain damage surgeries include:
This is when a bone flap is removed so doctors have access to the brain. The doctors will then repair skull fractures, large blood clots and blood vessels. A craniotomy is performed by cutting a small hole in the brain to remove the flap. After surgery, the bone flap is secured back into place with screws and plates.
This surgical procedure is performed only when there is severe head trauma or brain damage. A surgeon will remove a large portion of the skull and the brain so that swelling will reduce. Some say a decompressive craniectomy is too life-threatening an option, especially on infants. But in many cases, the procedure is considered the best option. Statistics from the National Institute of Health have shown that about 81 percent of children who survive the surgery go on to live normal, healthy lives.
Infants who suffer brain damage also suffer from head pain, seizures, swelling and infections. Your baby’s doctors will know what medications will work best in each case. The most common medications clients of our brain injury attorneys are treated with include:
- Anti-seizure medications, such as phenytoin, benzodiazepines and levetiracetam. These medications help control spastics movements and seizures.
- Behavioral medications. As infants grow older and closer to their toddler years, those who have suffered from infant brain damage may develop behavioral problems such as hyperactivity, aggression and attention deficits (ADD or ADHD). Common medications to treat these conditions include bromocriptine, amitriptyline and methylphenidate, among others.
- Diuretics, which increase urination, thus helping reduce fluids that have built up in tissue. Many diuretics can be administered intravenously. Mannitol is the most common used for brain damage patients.
Transplanted Stem Cells
Scientists have learned that by injecting stem cells directly into the brain, they can reverse some birth defects in mice. Transplanted stem cells have also shown promise in reversing brain damage caused by strokes and neurological diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Using stems cells to treat victims of infant brain damage, however, is a relatively new idea. Recently, a handful of research teams have been developing stem-cell-based therapies for rodents with simulated birth defects in the brain. While successful to a surprising degree on rodents, such procedures will need more research to bring to humans.
Brain damage results from the death of brain cells. Researchers believe that by transplanting stem cells into the brain, the cells lost due to injury can be replaced. Stem cells are thought to work because they divide and replenish themselves. They also can change into a specialized cell, like a brain cell.
This is a very promising field of medical science.
Research suggests that cooling the body temperature of babies deprived of oxygen at birth can improve their chance of growing up without disabilities like cerebral palsy.
The procedure works by placing babies deprived of oxygen on a cooling mat for three days. Researchers believe the cooling procedure works slowing both the production of harmful substances in the brain and the rate of brain cell death.
About one in 500 newborns suffer from asphyxia, or a lack of oxygen at birth.
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, newborns given the cooling treatment were more likely to have higher IQs by high school. Researchers said children who received the cooling treatment exhibited better memory, IQ scores, attention spans and less signs of disability.
About 45 percent of cooled infants had no brain abnormalities, compared to 28 percent for those who did not receive the cooling treatment.
Physical and occupational therapy are very common for anyone who has suffered a brain injury. As your child grows, these therapies may help them live a more normal life by expanding their physical abilities. These therapies and programs are some of the most commonly used to help brain damage patients recover.
Physical therapy, where specialists work with patients to improve physical independence, helps improve:
- Coordination and balance
- Learning how to walk, sit and stand
Occupational therapy, which helps people overcome challenges that prevent them from performing daily tasks, works with patients to help them:
- Use the toilet alone
- Eat on their own
- Groom and dress themselves
- Overcome cognitive issues
- Deal with emotional problems
How an Experienced Brain Injury Attorney Can Help
At the Brain Injury Law Center in Hampton, VA, our attorneys are dedicated and passionate about getting the families of infants with brain injuries the compensation they deserve. Our track record of success in brain injury cases has given us a nationwide reputation.
We know this is the likely the most difficult time of your life. We want you to know what we have learned about infant brain injuries and treatments over our decades of experience because we want you to know you’re not alone.
If your child or a loved one has suffered from infant brain damage, when you’re ready, call our office at (877) 537-4340 or email us through the link on this page. Our consultations are always free, and we’re always standing by ready to help.