Traumatic Brain Injury

Andrew E. Auber1, Clifford Belden1

1 Brooke Army Medical Center, San Antonio, Texas
Publication Name:  Current Protocols in Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Unit Number:  Unit A4.4
DOI:  10.1002/0471142719.mia0404s05
Online Posting Date:  August, 2002
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Magnetic Resonance (MR) imaging of the brain following head injury is used in two distinct clinical contexts, (1) acutely, within days of the injury, to evaluate an unexplained neurologic deficit or to obtain prognostic information, and (2) chronically, to assess the degree of brain injury and explain neurologic or neuropsychologic findings. In this unit, two basic protocols are presented, one for acute imaging and the other for chronic imaging. Advanced MR imaging sequences, such as MR spectroscopy (MRS) and diffusion‐weighted (DW) imaging can provide additional prognostic information in the acute setting and are also described. MR angiography (MRA) and direct vessel wall imaging techniques are mentioned briefly.

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Table of Contents

  • Basic Protocol 1: Acute and Subacute Injury
  • Alternate Protocol 1: Optional Sequences
  • Basic Protocol 2: Chronic Injury
  • Commentary
  • Figures
  • Tables
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Literature Cited

Literature Cited
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Key References
   Mittl et al., 1994. See above.
  MRI demonstrates abnormalities in mild head injury patients with normal CT. Axonal injury was found in 30% of patients.
   Kelly et al., 1988. See above.
  This article demonstrates the ability of MR to depict many more lesions in the traumatized patient compared with CT. Over half of contusions and subdurals were seen by MR.
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