Temporal bone fractures: longitudinal or oblique? The case for oblique temporal bone fractures

Laryngoscope. 1992 Feb;102(2):129-34. doi: 10.1288/00005537-199202000-00005.


Classical descriptions and illustrations of temporal bone fractures are misleading. Both oblique and longitudinal fractures produce a similar fracture line in the middle cranial fossa; however, externally, they are different. Oblique fractures cross the petrotympanic fissure while longitudinal fractures run within it. In a study of 150 temporal bone fractures, the majority were oblique. An array of fracture planes accounts for most of the fractures observed. Depending on the direction of trauma, fracture planes rotate around an anteroposterior axis. When they approach the horizontal (axial) plane, they result in oblique fractures. True longitudinal fractures are rare. They are vertical and perpendicular to the oblique planes.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Skull Fractures / classification
  • Skull Fractures / diagnostic imaging
  • Skull Fractures / pathology*
  • Temporal Bone / diagnostic imaging
  • Temporal Bone / injuries*
  • Temporal Bone / pathology
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed