Utilizing our state-of-the-art neurosurgical intensive care unit, patients with injuries to the brain and spinal cord have the advantage of receiving the most advanced treatment from a team of dedicated neurosurgeons, neurointensivists, and neuro-critical care nurses. Patients upon discharge may be referred to our Head Injury Program staffed by physicians, and neuropsychologists.
Trauma to the Brain and Spine
Brain trauma results from an injury to head often caused by a fall or motor vehicle accident. The brain “floats” inside the skull and is vulnerable to sudden, high energy force. The delicate tissue can be injured when bleeding occurs in and around the brain. Swelling can occur which all can lead to an elevation of the intracranial pressure (ICP).
The treatment of brain injury is focused on limiting secondary injury by reducing ICP. Treatment may include the use of medications such as highly concentrated sodium intravenous fluids, mannitol as well as the placement of an external ventricular drain to relieve the build-up of fluid with in the brain itself. All of this care is performed in our Neuro-ICU. Here specially trained doctors, physicians, physician assistants, nurse practioners, nurses and respiratory therapists provide 24 hour care utilizing cutting edge technology monitoring for subtle changes and refining treatment accordingly.
Some patients may require surgery. A craniotomy may be required to remove the accumulation of blood from the surface of the brain and within the brain itself as well as relive elevated intracranial pressure. Sometimes the skull is not replaced affording the injured brain room to swell as to not harm healthy brain tissue.
Spine trauma may involve injuries to the bone surrounding the spinal cord, the spinal cord itself or both. The spine must first be stabilized to prevent further injury. This may include the application of a rigid cervical collar or at times a traction device. Surgery may be required in order to realign the spine and relieve pressure from the spinal cord itself.
Head Injury Program
The Head Injury Program at Hartford Hospital provides outpatient after-care for patients who have suffered a traumatic brain injury. This unique program is composed of neurosurgeons and neuropsychologists who use a multidisciplinary approach to treat those who may have suffered trauma to the head.
After a head injury, such as concussion or hemorrhaging in or around the brain, patients often have difficulty returning to normal activities. Recovery can be a long, frustrating process. This program, one of only a few in New England, entails an evaluation by one of our board certified neuropshycologists. Overseen by our team of neurosurgeons patients may be referred for neuropsychological testing, physical therapy or treatment for balance problems or hearing loss as the result of a head injury. This allows for more precise treatment facilitating a quicker recovery.