Basilar skull fracture (broken bone)

Head | Orthopaedics | Basilar skull fracture (broken bone) (Disease)


A basilar skull fracture is a fracture of the base of the skull, that usually involves the temporal bone, occipital bone, sphenoid bone, and/or ethmoid bone.

Symptoms of a skull fracture may include: headache, scalp swelling, scalp tenderness, scalp contusion, skin wound to the scalp, deformed skull, a depressed area, or indentation, in the skull. A fracture to the base of the brain, called a basilar skull fracture, may cause additional symptoms. Additional symptoms of a basilar skull fracture include: loss of hearing, tinnitus, blood behind the eardrum, bruising behind the ear (Battle sign), ear discharge, bruising around both eyes, runny nose.

Causes and Risk factors

Basilar skull fractures can occur in the posterior skull base or anterior skull base. When bones around the foramen magnum, the hole in the base of the skull through which the spinal cord exits and becomes the brain stem, breaks increases the risk of blood vessels and nerves damage.

Acute injury to the internal carotid artery like carotid dissection, occlusion or pseudoaneurysm formation may be asymptomatic or result in life-threatening hemorrhage. They are almost exclusively observed when the carotid canal is fractured, although only a minority of carotid canal fractures result in vascular injury.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Treatment for a skull fracture depends on the severity of the fracture and the presence of any associated brain injury. Treatment of uncomplicated skull fractures may include wound care, cold compresses, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain. Treatment for an injury to the brain may require corticosteroid medications, medications for seizures, or surgery. ...