Skull Fracture

Also known as: broken skull, closed skull fracture, open skull fracture, basal skull fracture, depressed skull fracture, non- depressed skull fracture, linear skull fracture

What is a skull fracture?

A skull fracture, is any break in any bone of the skull (the bone that surrounds the brain). Whenever the skull bone breaks, regardless of the severity, nature, or extent of the breakage, it is known as a skull fracture. Skull fractures may sometimes lead to an injury to the brain, but not necessarily so.

What causes skull fracture?

In newborn babies, a depressed skull fracture can occur from the baby's head pressing on a mother's bones during uterine contractions during birth ("ping-pong" depressed fractures). Rarely, forceps used during delivery can cause injury to the skull.
In infants and children, skull fractures may be caused by falls or abuse, or caused by an accident or injury. Common causes are violence, bicycle or vehicle accidents, falls or contact sports.

What are the symptoms of skull fracture?

Symptoms can range from there being none, to mild to severe, depending on the site and severity of the skull fracture.
Bleeding, headache, a stiff neck, vomiting and mental disturbances like confusion, slurred speech, vision problems, fatigue, balance issues and fainting are some of the symptoms that may occur.

What are skull fracture care options?

Some skull fractures may require no treatment (with just observation and return if symptoms occur), others just management of symptoms. More serious fractures require surgery to fix the fracture, and possibly to relieve pressure to the brain.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: September 09, 2020 11:11 AM

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