High-resolution CT of temporal bone trauma

AJR Am J Roentgenol. 1984 Aug;143(2):391-5. doi: 10.2214/ajr.143.2.391.


Computed tomographic (CT) findings in 18 patients with temporal bone trauma were reviewed. Eight patients suffered longitudinal fractures of the petrous bone, which were associated with ossicular dislocation in two patients. Transverse fractures were detected in six patients, with a contralateral mastoid fracture in one patient. In four patients, the fractures were restricted to the mastoid region. Of the 14 patients in whom adequate neurologic evaluation was available, seven had a permanent facial nerve or hearing deficit while five suffered at least a transient neurologic deficit related to the temporal bone trauma. Routine head CT (10 mm sections) demonstrated only eight of 19 petrous bone injuries. Clues to such injury included opacification of the mastoid air cells (10 patients), sphenoid sinus (11 patients), external canal and middle ear air space (10 patients), and local pneumocephalus (five patients). Evidence of brain trauma or extraaxial hematoma was seen in 12 patients. In 13 cases, high-resolution CT was also performed, demonstrating temporal bone injuries in all. This latter technique allows rapid and detailed evaluation of temporal bone trauma. Reports of radiographic evaluation of temporal bone trauma tend to deal with a somewhat skewed population, selected on the basis of clinical symptomatology. In a major trauma center equipped with high-resolution CT, it was found that temporal bone fractures may be seen incidentally, or in patients in whom symptomatology related to temporal fracture is obscured by much more serious neurologic compromise.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Facial Nerve Diseases / etiology
  • Female
  • Hearing Disorders / etiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Petrous Bone / injuries
  • Skull Fractures / complications
  • Skull Fractures / diagnostic imaging*
  • Temporal Bone / diagnostic imaging
  • Temporal Bone / injuries*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*