It may take weeks, months, or years to recover from a brain injury. The longer it’s been since the brain injury, the slower the recovery. More functions usually come back as the brain heals.
Some people make a full recovery, some have mild, long term problems, and some may need extra care and services for the rest of their lives.
In the days and weeks after a brain injury, the brain tissue is often affected by swelling, bleeding, and/or changes in brain chemistry. Recovery may also depend on how bad the injury was, where in the brain the injury is, and the person’s age.
Sometimes blood that has built up has to be removed to reduce pressure and/or swelling. As the swelling in the brain improves, function may improve.
Sometimes other body systems have also been injured. The effect of other injuries can affect how the brain recovers. For example, losing a lot of blood may mean that the brain doesn’t get all the blood and oxygen it needs to heal.
More is being learned about how the brain heals itself. It’s believed that the brain tissue that’s left can learn how to do some jobs that damaged or destroyed brain cells used to do.