Skull fracture as a factor of increased risk in minor head injuries. Indication for a broader use of cerebral computed tomography scanning

Surg Neurol. 1988 Nov;30(5):364-9. doi: 10.1016/0090-3019(88)90199-1.


Two series of patients with a minor head injury (for a total of 182 cases), differing only in the presence and absence of a linear skull fracture, were admitted to a nonspecialized hospital and prospectively examined by computed tomography scanning. The presence of a fracture line proved to be significant, inasmuch as it was accompanied by approximately 38% of intracranial abnormalities versus 6% in the nonfracture cases. Early detection of any intracranial pathology that was still asymptomatic allowed prompt transfer of patients to the neurosurgical center, where operative treatment was carried out, when indicated, without mortality or morbidity. All operations (11 cases) were performed on patients with a fracture (105 cases) whereas none of the nonfracture patients (77 cases) required surgery. It is proposed that adult patients with minor head injuries with a skull fracture be submitted to computed tomography scanning in order that intracranial lesions may be detected, and treated, before the onset of clinical deterioration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain Diseases / etiology*
  • Brain Diseases / surgery
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / complications*
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / diagnostic imaging
  • Craniotomy
  • Hematoma, Epidural, Cranial / diagnostic imaging
  • Hematoma, Epidural, Cranial / etiology
  • Hematoma, Epidural, Cranial / surgery
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Skull Fractures / complications*
  • Skull Fractures / diagnostic imaging
  • Skull Fractures / surgery
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed