In a serious motor vehicle accident, you are vulnerable to a traumatic brain injury. This type of injury may occur when your head smashes into a steering wheel, airbag, windshield or any other object. Even rapid deceleration may cause you to suffer a TBI, as your brain may collide with your skull.
Doctors have a variety of ways to diagnose and treat TBIs. If your condition is serious, a physician may induce a coma using anesthetic drugs. This approach effectively shuts down your brain function and incapacitates you.
Protecting your brain from additional injury
Even though motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of TBIs in those between the ages of 18 and 34, you may not be out of the woods immediately after the injury. Due to bleeding, swelling or other factors, your brain may continue to sustain damage in the hours, days or even weeks after the crash. Inducing a coma may protect your brain from additional injury.
Allowing your brain to heal
TBIs change the metabolism of the brain. This means parts of the brain may consume more energy than other parts. By cutting off brain functionality, doctors allow your brain to heal. That is, a medically induced coma levels the playing field, giving each part of your brain an equal chance at recovering.
Accepting some inherent risks
Any time doctors use anesthesia, there is some risk of additional injury or even death. Because low blood pressure is a concern, doctors may use medication to elevate yours. This medication may have side effects, including possible stroke.
Ultimately, if a medically induced coma is necessary to save your life, the procedure’s risks may be acceptable to you, your family and your physician.