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Did Your Newborn Suffer Cerebral
Palsy or Another Brain Injury Before
or During Labor and Delivery?

Learn More

Our Birth Brain Injury Resource Guide

the guide

Get a FREE guide of resources available throughout Ohio to children and families of children who were born with brain injuries.

Our guide can help you build a foundation of knowledge and tools that will help you help your child
now and in the future.

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If the symptoms, physical exam, and medical tests point to a brain injury, the prognosis varies widely. It mainly depends on how bad the damage is. Immediate surgery can have an impact, as it can quickly reduce swelling and restore blood and oxygen flow to an infant’s brain. Predicting whether there will be developmental delays or permanent neurological impairments, however, can be difficult.

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The success of any surgical procedure bears a lot of weight on the short- and long-term outcome. Many such surgeries are successful, and infants and children come through with minimal complications. However, intervention doesn’t always resolve the problem right away. Doctors must sometimes place monitoring devices on the skull to continuously monitor brain activity. Some problems take time to manifest; sometimes bleeding inside the skull needs to be drained, or damaged tissue may have to be surgically removed to preserve healthy cells.

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  • Mild damage: In its milder forms, infant brain damage often comes with a more positive prognosis. Many times, children grow up without serious complications or lasting problems. The quicker treatment is administered, the less likely there will be developmental delays and issues with psychological development. However, some children improve more slowly or require additional levels of support. The lasting effects can vary from one individual to another.
  • Serious damage: The prognosis may be more questionable if there is extreme brain trauma. Severe swelling must be alleviated right away, and additional surgeries may be needed to address excess pressure on the skull. An infant that undergoes surgery for serious brain injuries can be in a coma-like state afterwards, and ultimate outcome may remain unknown for some time. Disabilities and impairments can be expected as they develop, but the level of independence can vary with the child, depending on the outcome and extent/location of the damage.

An exact prognosis is often difficult during an initial damage assessment. A doctor will take into account what happened, and the symptoms during a consultation. Medical scans are often ordered so the damage can be analyzed. Depending on the prognosis, an appropriate treatment plan is created. There are many types of treatment for infant brain injuries and multiple options may be available.