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Vestibular Nerve Injury: Why it could be important to your TBI case


By: Robert Shepherd MS, Certified Medical Illustrator, Vice President and Director of Eastern Region Operations, MediVisuals Incorporated

Balance and dizziness are often associated with traumatic brain injuries, although the specific cause of these problems is often difficult to explain. Sometimes the injuries may be to the inner ear organs. Other times the injuries may be to the vestibular nerve. When the injury is to the vestibular nerve, the mechanism of injury is similar to injuries to the olfactory nerve resulting in disturbances in smell.

The exhibit shown below demonstrates the mechanism of injury. As the brain stem and skull move in different directions during a violent impact, stretch injuries to the vestibular nerve can occur. This type of injury is especially significant when supporting arguments of brain injuries occurring as a result of traumatic forces to the head. If forces were significant enough to damage the vestibular nerve, the forces were likely sufficient to cause shear or traumatic axonal injury, as well.

Vestibular Nerve Injury 500

For more information on mild and severe traumatic brain injury, please visit: For more information on the featured exhibit, please visit:

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My name is cherie,I am 46 yrs old, and live in Pinjarra, Western Australia. Five yrs ago I had a horse ridding accident which result in a traumatic brain injury. I was left with occilopsia, this is symptomised by vissual tremors, imbalance in the dark and unsteadyness to regain lost balance in the day. I cant drive as i suffer blurred vission during eppisodes. These tremors (bouncing vission) are visable by me but (the nystagmus) it can't be seen in my eyes, this baffled drs but VNG tests confirmed my unusual condition. The tremors I experience occur on a minute by minute basis, last for up to 20 seconds with no relief. After many visits to practitioners, some EEG, MRI and VNG Tests and visits to neurologists, my Drs finally diagnosed nystagmus, due to damage of the inferior vestibular nerve. I am now waiting to see the head of Neurology for up comming surgery with hope to correct my condition. 
I believe the surgeon is going to cut the superior vestibular nerve to counteract its over activity, intrying to compensate for the damage IVN. I am yet to see information on how people cope after this operation and how it affects them? Is it successful? 
I have felt alone in an undiagnosed, frustrating space, thankyou for the information I have read on this site as it has aloud me to understand the nerves that we have been talking about and no doubt other people have had the problem. G.P.s can give you no hope but persistance paid off and I wouldn't be without the support of my doctor and the specialists of Sir Charlie Gardener Hospital Perth.
Posted @ Friday, October 15, 2010 2:51 AM by cherie Bryce
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