Head or Brain Injury | Testing and Diagnosis

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Contact the Brain Injury Center

How is a head or brain injury diagnosed?

The doctor will examine your child and ask about his or her symptoms, medical history and how and where the injury occurred.

What tests will my child need?

To help diagnose a head or brain injury, your child’s doctor may also order one or more of the following tests:

  • Speech, language or cognition tests - Doctors use these tests to see if the head injury has affected any of your child’s brain functions, such as speaking, reading or memory.
  • Computed tomography (CT) scans – CT scans use x-ray equipment and powerful computers to create detailed images of the head and brain. A CT scan can show bruised brain tissue, bleeding in the brain and other brain damage.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – MRI uses a combination of electromagnets and radio waves to take detailed images of the brain.
  • Intracranial pressure monitoring - In some cases, a traumatic brain injury can cause swelling in the brain that increases pressure in the skull. The doctor may place a probe in the skull to check this swelling. If the pressure gets too high, a shunt or drain may be used to relieve this pressure.

Make an appointment

We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

Boston Children's Hospital
300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115
For Patients: 617-355-6000
For Referring Providers: 844-BCH-PEDS | 844-224-7337