What to Expect After a Traumatic Brain Injury?

If you have a loved one with a traumatic brain injury (TBI), you may know what the recovery process can look like or the effects their injury has had on them. 

With that said, many people do not know someone with this type of injury and have little understanding of what happens after a traumatic brain injury. To better understand, take a look at this breakdown of what you can expect after a TBI, from the initial stages to the recovery process.

Possible Stages

There are several different stages that could occur after a traumatic brain injury. The degree of swelling or bleeding within the brain is what causes each potential stage. Each stage varies according to how conscious the patient is and whether they can respond to stimuli and communication. These stages are defined as follows:


When in a coma, the patient is unconscious with their eyes constantly closed. They do not respond to visual or auditory stimuli and cannot communicate with anyone. They will not show emotional responses to any interactions from those around them.

Vegetative State

During a vegetative state, the patient can breathe independently, and their eyes may be open, but they do not intentionally respond to any stimuli. 

There may be unconscious movements or what appear to be physical reactions, but this is just the body and muscles having natural actions. This state is also referred to as Unresponsive Wakefulness Syndrome.

Minimally Conscious

When in a minimally conscious state, someone with a traumatic brain injury may be aware of their surroundings and able to respond to those around them, but they will drift in and out of consciousness. 

These patients may respond to commands, recognize objects, and be able to identify their loved ones, but they can also suffer from extreme confusion. Once they can correctly respond to various stimuli, they are considered free of this minimally conscious state.

Length of Recovery

Another factor you should understand about traumatic brain injury is what the recovery process may look like. For most patients, recovering from a traumatic brain injury is a lengthy process that can take months to years. Depending on the severity of the injury, the patient may need to re-learn how to perform basic tasks like walking and talking. 

Other patients may have more minor issues, like difficulties with their fine motor function. Whether big or small, all of these concerns require rehabilitation to resolve. Rehabilitation for a traumatic brain injury may be short-term and cease once these functions are mostly restored or permanent and continue for the rest of the patient’s life.

Long-Term Effects

Patients with traumatic brain injuries often suffer from long-term effects of their injury. This may include trouble with movement, difficulty communicating, or issues with reading and writing. Rehabilitation and restorative medicine can resolve these issues, but in many cases, some TBI symptoms still linger.

If your loved one sustains a traumatic brain injury, it is essential that they receive immediate care. Once the initial stages have been passed, they may seek restorative treatments to resolve any lingering concerns.

This post was written by a medical professional at Stemedix Inc. At Stemedix we provide access to Regenerative Medicine for TBI, also known as stem cells for traumatic brain injury. Regenerative medicine has the natural potential to help improve symptoms sometimes lost from the progression of many conditions.




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