Imaging evidence and recommendations for traumatic brain injury: conventional neuroimaging techniques

Max Wintermark
Pina C. Sanelli
Yoshimi Anzai
A. John Tsiouris
Christopher T. Whitlow

Abstract

Imaging plays an essential role in identifying intracranial injury in patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI). The goals of imaging include (1) detecting injuries that may require immediate surgical or procedural intervention, (2) detecting injuries that may benefit from early medical therapy or vigilant neurologic supervision, and (3) determining the prognosis of patients to tailor rehabilitative therapy or help with family counseling and discharge planning. In this article, the authors perform a review of the evidence on the utility of various imaging techniques in patients presenting with TBI to provide guidance for evidence-based, clinical imaging protocols. The intent of this article is to suggest practical imaging recommendations for patients presenting with TBI across different practice settings and to simultaneously provide the rationale and background evidence supporting their use. These recommendations should ultimately assist referring physicians faced with the task of ordering appropriate imaging tests in particular patients with TBI for whom they are providing care. These recommendations should also help radiologists advise their clinical colleagues on appropriate imaging utilization for patients with TBI. Copyright 2015 American College of Radiology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.