Concussions (Mild Traumatic Brain Injury or mTBI) have long been a mysterious and worrying injury for doctors to examine. Concussion symptoms can range anywhere from unconsciousness to memory loss to a slight headache. There are such a range of symptoms that it can be a difficult task for physicians to medically diagnose a concussion.
Concussions are unusual for most people but for athletes, some workers, and extreme sport enthusiasts, a concussion is just part of the territory. The problem with this is that as more research is being done on the long-term effects of concussions on professional athletes, we are learning that these bumps on the noggin can have a much deeper consequence. Any kind of traumatic brain injury is cause for concern but now Doctors Imaging has a beneficial new technology that can help determine the degree of brain injury and nerve damage due to a concussion. It’s called Diffusion Tensor Imaging or DTI/MRI.
Doctors Imaging was the first to introduce New Orleans to a 3.0T MRI and we added Diffusion Tensor Imaging to our list of services in 2016. Where standard MRIs are well-equipped to obtain useful and comprehensive images of brain tissue, DTI is an advanced form of MRI technology that improves diagnostic practices, particularly in the diagnosis and recovery of concussions.
Where most MRIs can tell if there is tissue damage or bleeding, DTI capabilities are able to explore the possibility of nerve damage in very specific areas of the brain’s white matter. Along with internal bleeding, nerve damage is the primary concern for physicians when dealing with a concussed patient. If you were to look at former football players or boxers, you notice that they have a higher prevalence of Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, ALS (Lou Gherig’s Disease) and other neurological disorders as they age, and many believe this is from repeated exposure to head and back trauma. DTI MRIs are able to focus on the connecting circuits of the brain and localize nerve damage. By recognizing this nerve damage, doctors can keep a close eye on their patient and help them during the recovery from their injury.
One side effect that most doctors are very concerned about when they are seeing a concussed patient is axonal injury. Axonal injury is when a brain injury occurs that causes extensive lesions in the white matter tracts in a widespread or localized area. Diffuse axonal injury (DAI) is so worrying because it can be indicative of long-term brain deficiency. DAI occurs in almost half of all concussion cases and now with this kind of advanced MRI technology, doctors will be able to make diagnoses and recoveries easier and more beneficial.
Like other MRIs, DTI does not use radiation, is non-invasive and has extremely high success rates. So if you or someone you know has concussion symptoms, be sure to give Doctors Imaging a call and have your DTI appointment made. If you have more questions or would like to speak to a representative at Doctors Imaging, feel free to call at 504-883-8111.