A CT-scan is a diagnostic tool used to detect gross damage to the soft tissue of the body (muscles, tendons, ligaments and brain tissue). An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan is a more sensitive test to detect damage or injury to the soft tissues of the body.
However, CT and MRI scans can only detect macroscopic injury. In other words, injuries that can be seen by the naked eye.
Unfortunately, mild traumatic brain injury occurs at a microscopic level in the cells of the brain.
The textbook Neuropsychiatry of Traumatic Brain Injury states that:
Many patients with a history of “minor” brain injury will not have abnormalities on MRI, yet can manifest clear evidence of functional impairment on neuropsychological measures.”
The textbook Medical Rehabilitation of Traumatic Brain Injury points out that many practising doctors mistakenly believe that a patient with a normal CT or MRI scan is in fact normal, in other words, has not suffered an injury. However, the authors of the text book point to the medical saying, “absence of proof is not proof of absence”.
In other words, normal diagnostic imaging tests (CT and MRI scans) may simply mean that the tests are not sensitive enough to detect a mild traumatic brain injury.
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Halifax Brain Injury lawyer John McKiggan Q.C. has served on the board of the Brain Injury Association of Nova Scotia (Halifax Chapter) and is the author of Brain Matter: The Survivor’s Guide to Brain Injury Claims an educational resource for brain injury survivors and their families.
If you or someone in your family has suffered a traumatic brain injury, you can call brain injury lawyer John McKiggan Q.C. toll free at (877) 423-2050 or contact us online for a free consultation.