Traumatic Brain Injury: Imaging Patterns and Complications

Andrew D Schweitzer, Sumit N Niogi, Christopher T Whitlow, A John Tsiouris
Radiographics: a Review Publication of the Radiological Society of North America, Inc 2019, 39 (6): 1571-1595
While the diagnosis of traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a clinical decision, neuroimaging remains vital for guiding management on the basis of identification of intracranial pathologic conditions. CT is the mainstay of imaging of acute TBI for both initial triage and follow-up, as it is fast and accurate in detecting both primary and secondary injuries that require neurosurgical intervention. MRI is more sensitive for the detection of certain intracranial injuries (eg, axonal injuries) and blood products 24-48 hours after injury, but it has limitations (eg, speed, accessibility, sensitivity to motion, and cost). The evidence primarily supports the use of MRI when CT findings are normal and there are persistent unexplained neurologic findings or at subacute and chronic periods. Radiologists should understand the role and optimal imaging modality to use, in addition to patterns of primary brain injury and their influence on the risk of developing secondary brain injuries related to herniation. © RSNA, 2019 See discussion on this article by Mathur and Nicolaou.

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