Head Injuries – Types of Skull Fractures

by Steve Holder on June 25, 2008

The skull is made of bone, and just like an arm or a leg bone it can be fractured. The type of skull fracture determines the injury’s severity. These are the common types.

Linear Skull Fracture

A linear skull fracture is the simplest and most common type of skull fracture, comprising 2/3 of all cases. In a linear fracture, the skull bone is cracked, but the skull is not opened. The fracture itself is not dangerous and can potentially heal without special treatment. The danger, however, is that a blow severe enough to crack the skull may also cause a concussion or brain contusion.

Diastatic Skull Fracture

At birth, the skull consists of separate plates that are not fully joined together. As we mature, the bones fuse together and the joint between two plates is called a skull suture. A fracture causing the skull to separate at a suture is a diastatic skull fracture. Some medical professionals also use the term to describe an injury resulting in a significant separation of the bone at the site of the fracture.

Comminuted Skull Fracture

When a severe blow shatters the skull bone into small pieces at the injury site, it’s a comminuted skull fracture. This can be a very serious injury if small bits of bone are driven into the brain, tearing it and causing bleeding. It is less serious if the pieces remain in place and serious intracranial bleeding is avoided.

Depressed Skull Fracture

An extreme case of a comminuted skull fracture is the depressed skull fracture in which the skull fragments are pushed inward. Severe injury to the brain and dangerous intracranial bleeding is practically unavoidable.

Basilar Skull Fracture

A basilar skull fracture occurs at the base of the skull. Also called a basal skull fracture, its seriousness depends on its severity. A basilar skull fracture often tears the membrane surrounding the brain allowing the fluid to leak out, typically through the ears or nose. Leaking and bloody fluid may also collect in the area around the eyes creating a condition called “raccoon eyes,” or the fluid may create bruising behind the ears, referred to as “Battle’s sign.”

Related Articles

Return to Head and Brain Injuries Home Page

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

WAZIM January 28, 2009 at 11:45 pm

After about 4 years of my birth I myself had a severe head injury never treated in hospital. Actually it was an external head injury caused due to hitting earth from a distance ending up leaving behind a small hairless cut. Now, I’m 28 and planning to go for treatment in order to have hairs back to fill the area. I’ll be glad to have your help. You can contact me on 07512905220 to discuss further.

Leave a Comment

Previous post: Head Injury Accidents – Who is Liable?

Next post: Traumatic Brain Injury – The Medical Insurance Maze