Diagnostic Testing

Various tests may need to be carried out to ascertain the extent of any damage. Some tests will examine the structure of the brain and some the functioning of the brain. The following are the main tests that might be carried out by a consultant:

Stucture Tests

X-rays
These will usually provide images of the skull rather than the brain itself. They can be helpful in detecting skull fractures.

Lumbar Puncture
This is used to analyse fluid which circulates around brain and the spinal cord. An analysis of fluid can show a haemorrhage in the brain or spinal cord, infection or the presence of neuro-chemicals indicating brain damage.

CT Scan
This slices the brain into slabs and passes x-rays through the patient and is used to evaluate conditions including subarachnoid haemorrhages and strokes.

MRI Scan
An MRI gives a strong magnetic field which gives greater detail than a CT scan because of the way that the radio frequencies and protons react. It can show where a blood-brain barrier has been disrupted. An MRI is so sensitive that it can detect silent brain damage.

Functional Tests

PET and SPECT
In PET (position emission tomography), radiopharmaceuticals are injecte