Exposure to Surgery and Anesthesia After Concussion Due to Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

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To describe the epidemiology of surgical and anesthetic procedures in patients recently diagnosed as having a concussion due to mild traumatic brain injury.

Patients and Methods:

Study patients presented to a tertiary care center after a concussion due to mild traumatic brain injury from July 1, 2005, through June 30, 2015, and underwent a surgical procedure and anesthesia support under the direct or indirect care of a physician anesthesiologist.


During the study period, 1038 patients met all the study inclusion criteria and subsequently received 1820 anesthetics. In this population of anesthetized patients, rates of diagnosed concussions due to sports injuries, falls, and assaults, but not motor vehicle accidents, increased during 2010–2011. Concussions were diagnosed in 965 patients (93%) within 1 week after injury. In the 552 patients who had surgery within 1 week after concussive injury, 29 (5%) had anesthesia and surgical procedures unrelated to their concussion-producing traumatic injury. The highest use of surgery occurred early after injury and most frequently required general anesthesia. Orthopedic and general surgical procedures accounted for 57% of procedures. Nine patients received 29 anesthetics before a concussion diagnosis, and all of these patients had been involved in motor vehicle accidents and received at least 1 anesthetic within 1 week of injury.


Surgical and anesthesia use are common in patients after concussion. Clinicians should have increased awareness for concussion in patients who sustain a trauma and may need to take measures to avoid potentially injury-augmenting cerebral physiology in these patients.

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