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Skull Fracture: Types, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis And Treatment

Nov 14, 2023

Skull Fracture Types, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis And Treatment

A skull fracture is any break that occurs in the cranium. If surgery had been required or there was a brain injury, healing can take weeks or months. Most people recover on their own.

Though they can occur in many different ways, there is only one primary cause of skull fractures: a blow or impact to the head strong enough to break a bone. Detecting a fracture is not always easy. However, the indications listed below could indicate a fracture:

  • Edema and discomfort near the impact-related facial bruises
  • Hemorrhaging from the nose or ears

The treatment plan is determined by the fracture's degree. For small fractures, pain medication might be the sole necessary treatment, but neurosurgery may be required for more serious injuries.

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Types Of Skull Fractures

The kind of fracture that follows from an impact depends on the force of the blow, the location of the impact on the skull, and the shape of the object colliding with the head.

A pointier object is more likely to enter the skull than a hard, blunt surface like the earth. Different fracture types lead to different levels of trauma and damage. View a skull anatomy.

Open fracture

When the skin breaks and the bone is visible, it is known as an open fracture, sometimes called a complicated fracture.

Closed fracture

In a closed fracture, sometimes referred to as a simple fracture, the skin surrounding the fracture site is not cut or broken.

Depressed fracture

This fracture causes the skull to extend into the brain cavity.

Basal Fracture

A basal fracture occurs on the floor of the skull, which encompasses the area around the eyes, nose, ears, and top of the neck near the spine.

Various kinds Of Fracture

In addition to the above-listed categories, fractures can also be classified as:

  • Linear: Having a straight path
  • Comminuted- That is split into three or more sections

Also Read: Thanatology: Types of Death, Post Mortem Changes 

Causes Of Fractured Skulls

A fracture occurs when a force strong enough to break the bone strikes the cranium. Any type of head trauma can lead to a fracture of the skull. That includes:

  • Getting hit by a car or train as a pedestrian or cyclist
  • Suffering a head injury in a motorbike accident
  • Being physically abused or assaulted
  • Suffering a sports injury

Also Read: Thermal Injury: Types, Causes, Signs and Symptoms, Treatment - NEET PG FMT

Symptoms Of Fractured Skulls

In certain cases, the skull's fracture may be easily visible, such as in the case of an open or depressed fracture. However, it's possible that the fracture isn't always visible. Seek quick assistance if you exhibit any signs of a head injury.

Signs of a severe fracture to the skull include the following:

  • Bleeding from the trauma- Inflicted wound, close to the trauma site, or around the eyes, ears, and nose bruises surrounding the trauma site, behind the ears as in a battle's sign, or beneath the eyes in a condition known as raccoon eyes
  • Edema at the site of the trauma
  • Warmth or redness where the trauma occurred

Less severe symptoms, or those that don't appear to be related to a skull fracture, could be:

  • Migraine
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Blurry vision
  • Agitation
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Loss of balance
  • Stiff-neck
  • Lack of reaction
  • Confusion
  • Feeling unconscious

Also Read: Pectus Excavatum: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis Of Skull Fracture

To diagnose a fracture, a doctor needs to perform a basic physical examination of the skull. However, it is useful to diagnose the exact type and extent of the damage. More advanced tools for diagnosis are needed as a result.

A variety of imaging techniques can be used by medical specialists to help identify the kind and severity of your fracture. Your doctor may utilize standard body imaging methods such as MRIs, CT scans, and X-rays to detect skull fractures.

With the use of an X-ray, the bone is visualized. An MRI provides an image of the bone and soft tissues. This makes the brain and the fractured skull visible to your doctor.

A CT or CAT scan is the tool that is used the most frequently. This test usually provides the clearest representation of the fracture and any brain injury since it generates a three-dimensional (3D) image.

Also Read: Spinal And Cardiac Poisons

Treatment Of Skull Fractures

Skull fractures are treated differently from other types of bone fractures. The treatment plan will be impacted by several factors. Your doctor will consider several factors, including the type of fracture, its severity, and any subsequent brain injury, in addition to your age, health, and medical history.

Most of the time, the skull will heal itself after a fracture, and some fractures are not particularly painful. Painkillers are sufficient in certain situations, such as when a person has a basal skull fracture. When someone has a skull fracture, over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen (Tylenol) are usually only needed temporarily; however, opioids may be needed more frequently.

However, if the basal fracture results in an excessive amount of cerebrospinal fluid—a fluid that surrounds and cushions the brain and spinal cord—leaking out of the nose and ears, surgery may be required.

If the depression is severe enough, surgery is usually required to repair depressed skull fractures. This is because depressed skull fractures are more challenging to heal on their own.

In addition to causing cosmetic issues, depressed skull fractures can result in significant brain damage if left untreated. Surgery can also be necessary if there is a leak of cerebrospinal fluid or if the depression puts pressure on the brain.

Also Read: Forensic Autopsy: Types, Incisions & Techniques

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