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Alternative namesBasilar skull fracture; Depressed skull fracture; Linear skull fracture
DefinitionA skull fracture is a fracture or break in the cranial (skull) bones. See also concussion .
Skull fractures may occur with head injuries . Although the skull is tough, resilient, and provides excellent protection for the brain, a severe impact or blow can result in fracture of the skull. It may be accompanied by injury to the brain.
The brain can be affected directly by damage to the nervous system tissue and bleeding. It can be affected indirectly by blood clots which form under the skull, but compress the underlying brain tissue (subdural or epidural hematoma).
Note: The only symptom may be a bump on the head.
1. Check the airway, breathing, and circulation. If necessary, begin rescue breathing and CPR.
2. Avoid moving the victim (unless absolutely necessary) until medical help arrives. Instruct someone to call 911 (or another emergency number) for medical assistance.
3. If the victim must be moved, take care to stabilize the head and neck. Place your hands on both sides of the head and under the shoulders. Do not allow the head to bend forward or backward, or to twist or turn.
4. Carefully check the site of injury, but do not probe in or around the site with a foreign object. It can be difficult to ascertain accurately if the skull is fractured or depressed (dented in) at the site of injury.
5. If bleeding, apply firm pressure with a clean cloth to control blood loss over a broad area.
6. If blood soaks through, do not remove the original cloth. Rather, apply additional cloths on top, and continue to apply pressure.
7. If the victim is vomiting, stabilize the head and neck, and carefully turn the victim to the side to prevent choking on vomit.
8. If the victim is conscious and experiencing any of the previously listed symptoms, transport to the nearest emergency medical facility (even if he does not think medical assistance is necessary).
1. Use car seats or seat belts whenever in a motor vehicle.
2. Use helmets whenever biking, skating, climbing, or playing contact sports.
3. Use equipment designed specifically for the type of sport or recreation in which you are participating.
4. Provide appropriate supervision for children of any age.
5. Do not allow children to bike or skate at night.
6. Provide highly visible clothing.
7. Teach children to obey traffic rules and signals.
8. Educate individuals about risks of various work, recreational, or sport activities and how to avoid injury.
Update Date: 1/29/2004Cherlin Johnson, M.D., Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT