A skull fracture is a break in the bone in the area of the skull. A skull fracture is one of the head injuries that occur in the majority of cases as a result of the external impact of force on the skull. The brain can also be damaged by the skull fracture.
What is a skull fracture?
With a skull fracture, a break or, as it is called in medical terms, a fracture has formed in the skull bone. In most cases, this is the result of violent force on the skull bones. A skull fracture often occurs in conjunction with other types of head injuries, because when the fracture occurs in the skull bone, the surrounding areas are usually injured in various ways as well. See beautyphoon for What is Colic.
Basically, a distinction is made between various forms and characteristics or degrees of severity of a skull fracture. If the violent force only injured the bone of the skull, this is referred to as either a skull contusion or a skull fracture. While the impact of a skull contusion was not strong enough to cause a fracture of the skull bone, a skull fracture is a clear break in the skullcap.
If the impact of violence was so severe that the brain is also affected by the injuries, it is a so-called craniocerebral trauma. The brain injuries that can also occur as part of a skull fracture are usually divided into three degrees of severity. A concussion is the mildest form and in most cases heals without further damage.
In connection with a contusion of the brain, an injury to the tissue of the brain can result, with the risk of various late effects. The most severe and complicated form is the contusion of the brain, in the context of which cerebral hemorrhage and permanent consequential damage frequently occur.
In the majority of cases, skull fractures occur as a result of a direct and violent impact. They are very common, for example, in connection with sports injuries or traffic accidents. They often occur in connection with complicated craniocerebral trauma. However, numerous head injuries and skull fractures occur, particularly in the workplace. In principle, the violent impact on the skull in most cases takes the form of a blow or blow to the head.
Firstly, it is possible that the head is in a still position and it is hit by a powerful external blow. On the other hand, the head may be in motion and suddenly stopped by a hard object, such as a door, wall, or the floor. In all cases, the brain hits the cranial bone as it is pressed against the cranium by the sudden change in movement.
In the context of a skull fracture, it can happen that the meninges tear. This occurs as a result of a particularly strong impact, in which the skull bone breaks and injures the meninges. In such a case, it is an open craniocerebral injury. It is one of the most serious head injuries ever.
Symptoms, Ailments & Signs
The symptoms of a skull fracture differ depending on the type of fracture. It is divided into the skull base fracture, the calotte fracture and the facial skull fracture.
- Facial skull fractures can occur, for example, in the form of zygomatic fractures, midface fractures, nasal bone fractures or blow-out fractures.
- In the case of skull base fractures, a distinction is made between frontobasal, frontolateral and laterobasal fractures.
- A skull fracture is understood to mean the fracture of the bone in the area of the so-called skull cap.
Basically, skull fractures result in swelling and heavy bleeding because the skull has a good blood supply. Bleeding from the ears and nose and visual disturbances are also common. Sometimes clearly recognizable steps form on the face and the affected people complain about sensory disturbances under the eyelids. Skull fractures are associated with enormous pain for the patient.
Diagnosis & course of disease
For a reliable diagnosis of a skull fracture, there are a number of examination methods to choose from, which are used depending on the severity and type of skull fracture. The basis for the diagnosis is always a physical examination of the affected patient. The skull is then subjected to an X-ray examination, with images being created in two planes.
Additional X-rays, for example of the jaw joint or the paranasal sinuses, are possible. In addition, the cervical spine is also examined using X-ray technology, with a so-called Dens target image being made. As a result, potential concomitant injuries are quickly diagnosed.
In addition, a computer tomogram of the skull is also possible, with the help of which fractures can be reliably identified. Various complications are conceivable in the context of a skull fracture. These include injuries to the brain and cranial nerves, cerebral hemorrhage and infections that rise up into the brain, such as encephalitis.
A skull fracture can have complications. Accompanying injuries are not uncommon. Whether a skull fracture causes sequelae depends on whether the fracture is uncomplicated or complicated. If the fracture occurs without any accompanying injuries or displaced fracture fragments, it only takes a few days or weeks to heal. Otherwise there is a risk of consequential damage.
It is not uncommon for complications from a skull fracture to occur as a result of concomitant injuries. For example, if the nose is affected, this can lead to problems with smelling or even a total loss of smell. Impairments of the sense of taste are also possible. Most patients recover to normal after some time, but chronic effects are sometimes possible.
If there is damage to nerves as a result of the skull fracture, there is a risk of sensory disturbances or signs of paralysis, the extent and position of which depends on the area that has suffered damage. If the ear canal is also damaged, hearing problems can occur that require surgical treatment. In some cases, however, a permanent hearing impairment remains.
One of the most serious consequences of a skull fracture is cerebral hemorrhage. In order for the pressure to be relieved, an operation must be carried out immediately. Other complications of a skull fracture are tears in the dura mater, ascending infections and encephalitis.
When should you go to the doctor?
A skull fracture must always be treated immediately by a doctor. If left untreated, this complaint can lead to serious complications that can reduce and limit the life expectancy of the person affected. For this reason, in the case of a skull fracture, a very quick diagnosis and treatment is primarily necessary in order to completely relieve the symptoms. A doctor should be consulted if a bone fracture occurs in the head or skull. Very strong and violent swellings occur on the affected person’s head, whereby the blood supply to the affected areas is also interrupted.
Those affected suffer from severe pain and blurred vision. If these symptoms occur, a doctor must be consulted in any case. Especially after a serious accident or after an injury, a doctor must be contacted. Furthermore, a doctor should also be consulted if the person concerned suffers from severe sensory disturbances.
In the case of a skull fracture, a hospital should usually always be visited, although an ambulance can also be called in emergencies. The further course of this complaint depends very much on the exact severity of the fracture.
Treatment & Therapy
A skull fracture is a sometimes life-threatening injury and requires immediate medical attention. Skull fractures are usually treated surgically. The only exceptions here are linear skull fractures and nasal bone fractures.
In the case of facial skull fractures, a so-called intubation is considered to prevent aspiration. In order to adequately treat minor skull fractures, a physician should be consulted for any head injury.
In particular, skull fractures caused by sports accidents can often be avoided by wearing a protective helmet. Basically, mindfulness is recommended for risky activities to prevent head injuries.
In the case of a skull fracture, those affected often only have limited direct follow-up care available. Therefore, the affected person should ideally consult a doctor at an early stage so that other complications or complaints do not arise, since self-healing is also not possible. In general, early detection of the symptoms is the priority in the case of a skull fracture.
Most of those affected are dependent on a surgical intervention, which should be carried out as soon as possible. Therefore, an ambulance should be called immediately in the event of a skull fracture. Furthermore, the affected person should rest and rest after such an operation, whereby exertion or stressful and physical activities should be avoided in order not to unnecessarily burden the body.
Likewise, many of those affected depend on the help and support of their own families. Psychological support also has a very positive effect on the further course and can also prevent depression and other mental upsets. In some cases, the life expectancy of the person affected is also limited by the skull fracture.
You can do that yourself
Patients with a skull fracture are usually forced to stay in the hospital. During and after that, those affected must take sufficient care of themselves. The affected area on the head should be padded with a soft pillow. The area should be carefully examined in the morning and evening and any symptoms noted in a complaint diary.
A facial fracture can cause severe headaches and other discomfort. The doctor usually prescribes a painkiller for this. Patients must comply with the doctor’s instructions regarding intake and also ensure a regular sleep rhythm. Because heavy work is not possible with a skull fracture, patients must call in sick at their workplace as soon as possible. A simple skull fracture heals in four to six weeks. Depending on the severity of the injury, further action may need to be taken.
Physiotherapy can be supported at home with moderate exercise. Cooling pads help with acute pain. With the okay of the family doctor, various natural remedies can also be tried. Comfrey has a positive effect on bone formation. Bamboo contributes to bone healing due to its high silica content. A diet rich in minerals ensures that the body has sufficient iron and calcium available. If the skull fracture causes persistent symptoms or even causes bleeding, the doctor must be informed.