A great deal of attention has recently been given to the importance of proper treatment of traumatic brain injury to help prevent further complications after the injury has occurred. Many times, traumatic brain injuries have lasting effects that cannot be predicted immediately after the injury, and some of the repercussions of these injuries are not seen for months or years after the injury has occurred. However, another concern related to traumatic brain injuries is the chance of death associated with them. According to Medscape, recent research published in The New England Journal of Medicine has shown that decompressive surgery may decrease the risk of death caused by traumatic brain injury. The average age of participants in the study was 33, and most had sustained their injuries through severe falls, assaults, or vehicle accidents.
What does the research suggest?
Decompressive surgery, the medical term for which is decompressive craniectomy, is the removal of a large section of the skull after a traumatic brain injury has occurred to allow the brain to expand from swelling after an injury. In a study that randomly selected hundreds of patients from different hospitals throughout the world, known as the Randomised Evaluation of Surgery with Craniectomy for Uncontrollable Elevation of Intracranial Pressure, a decrease in deaths related to traumatic brain injury that caused brain swelling was noted. The study spanned several years and found that victims of traumatic brain injuries causing severe swelling from incidents such as severe falls or vehicle accidents who underwent decompressive surgery had a fatality rate of 26.9 percent compared to the control group’s fatality rate of 48.9 percent. Members of the control group did not undergo decompressive surgery.