Nearly two million Americans sustain a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) every year, and over five million develop chronic disabilities from their TBI-related injuries. Not only are the effects of Traumatic Brain Injury physically and mentally devastating, but financial costs are overwhelming. An estimated $77 billion is spent on direct and indirect TBImedical costs in the United States yearly.

In response to this overwhelming public health issue, doctors at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center (ZSFG) are dedicated to treating the frequently destructive outcomes of TBI. In addition to their work locally, physicians from ZSFG are leading efforts to assist other hospitals and institutions across the nation to reach the same high level of neurotrauma care. Thanks in part to this specialized training and education being shared across the county, TBI-related deaths decreased by 8.2% between 1997 and 2007.

Geoffrey T. Manley, M.D., Ph.D., Chief of Neurosurgery at ZSFG and Co-Director, Brain and Spinal Injury Center (BASIC), describes the approach towards TBI research today:

“Our research and our clinical work are transforming the field. We’re taking a more aggressive surgical approach now, developing new modalities to treat an injured brain. You're seeing things here that might not be done elsewhere for another five or ten years.”

The Back and Spinal Injury Center (BASIC) is a joint collaboration between The General and the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) that brings scientists and clinicians together to improve the understanding and treatment of traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries. BASIC developed critical new tools and techniques for monitoring brain tissue oxygen and cerebral blood flow. Today, hundreds of hospitals and research centers across the country use the techniques created by BASIC for brain research.

“Here at The General, the cutting edge comes from research; and quality care comes from what we call ‘boots on the ground’— the excellent physicians, ICU staff, and nurse practitioners who work directly with our patients. Most other places don’t have the dedicated support staff we do for traumatic brain injury.”

ZSFG became the first acute care hospital in the United States to be certified for Traumatic Brain Injury by The Joint Commission in 2011. This certification acknowledges clinical excellence and research leadership in caring for brain-injured patients.