New types of brain imaging techniques may be able to help traumatic brain injury survivors in identifying the exact nature, extent and location of their brain trauma. The most promising imaging technique involves an advanced MRI protocol referred to as SWI.
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Susceptibility Weighted Imaging (SWI) is a relatively new imaging technique that can be performed on most General Electric and Siemens MRI machines (1.0 T, 1.5 T, 2.0 T & 3.0 T). SWI can be included in the ordinary brain injury scan protocol. SWI images have been described as being 5 times as clear as ordinary MRI. SWI is particularly sensitive to the detection of iron deposits in the brain.Whenever there is a bleed in the brain, iron is deposited and remains, even after the liquid is reabsorbed into the brain. MRI and SWI can identify these iron deposits as lesions.
The majority of closed head injuries that result in brain damage results in a Diffuse Axonal Injury (DAI), which results in relatively small lesions throughout the brain. DAI lesions typically occur at the gray-white matter interface in the brain. This is where gray matter meets white matter. Due to the differences in density of gray matter vs. white matter, brain axons at this gray-white matter interface are more susceptible to damage from trauma than axons in other areas of the brain. SWI can more easily identify gray-white matter interface lesions than other MRI protocols. The following image compares a typical MRI image to that of an SWI image depicting lesions:
The clarity of the SWI image compared to that of the standard MRI image is remarkable. The benefits of SWI for TBI survivors are many. All TBI survivors will benefit by their doctors being able to pinpoint the areas of the brain that are the most damaged. Healthcare providers can tailor their treatment program to focus more treatment and rehabilitation on those areas of the brain that have the most damage. Also, for victims of mild TBI, SWI may finally be the key to establishing the objective proof of injury. Mild TBI survivors have long been frustrated by the lack of any objective evidence of injury, despite the dramatic changes in the TBI survivors’ lives and ability to function. SWI can help identify the exact nature, extent and location of the mild TBI survivors’ brain damage, which will lead to better care, treatment and rehabilitation for the mild TBI survivor.
If you or a loved one have sustained a TBI and need an experienced Wisconsin Brain Injury Attorney, contact Rozek Law Offices for a free initial consultation.