Our current understanding of the brain began after Phineas Gage survived a metal rod that was discharged through his brain. However, cases of Penetrative Brain Injury (PBI), in which a foreign object penetrates the skull and enters the brain, have since become relatively rare. Incidents of PBI encountered today occur as a result of vehicle collisions, urban violence, accidents at home, or suicide attempts.
A recent case study describes a PBI occurrence involving an unusually deeply penetrating iron rod that penetrated the head of a 19-year-old motorbiker in a construction site accident. Once paramedics moved the man to a trauma center, surgeons operated and achieved a good surgical result. After a 3-week stay in the ICU, the man was transferred to the recovery ward and eventually released from the hospital. A year after completing rehabilitation, the man had maintained a good recovery, and had not developed further neurological or behavioral problems.
Victims of mild and moderate PBI are more likely to survive their injuries if responders are able to treat secondary mechanisms of injury and initiate surgery as soon as possible.
Syrmos N, Ganau M, et al. Dealing with the surgical and medical challenges of penetrating brain injuries. Case Reports in Surgery. (December 2012).