OBJECTIVES: To present results from the first 3 years of centralized subacute rehabilitation after very severe traumatic brain injury (TBI), and to compare results of centralized versus decentralized rehabilitation. MATERIAL AND METHODS: Prospectively, the most severely injured group of adults from an uptake area of 2.4 million in Denmark were included at admission to a regional brain injury unit (BIU), on average 19 days after injury. Patients in the retrospective study used for comparison were randomly chosen from the national hospital register. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: Out of 117 patients in the prospective study, six died, and 92 (1.27 per 100,000 population per year) survived after a post-traumatic amnesia (PTA) period of at least 28 days. All 19 patients with PTA 7-27 days and 48% of survivors with PTA at least 4 weeks were discharged directly home. The incidence of patients vegetative at 1 month post-trauma was 0.29, and at 1 year 0.055 per 100,000 population. By comparison of 39 patients from the centralized unit injured in 2000-2003 with 21 patients injured in 1982, 1987 or 1992 and with similar PTA- and age distributions and male/female ratio, Glasgow Outcome Scale score at discharge was significantly better for the former group.