Post-traumatic skull radiographs. Time for a reappraisal

Lancet. 1978 Jul 8;2(8080):85-6. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(78)91395-8.


504 patients who had skull radiographs for head injury are included in this study. Only 9 (1.9%) had demonstrable fractures. 129 (25%) of the patients reviewed were admitted to hospital. 93 of these were admitted for up to 24 hours, and 36 for a longer period, usually for conditions unrelated to the head trauma. All but 1 of the patients with a demonstrable skull fracture were admitted to hospital, and the radiographic findings initiated active medical intervention in 2 of these cases. There was no correlation between radiographic findings and the need for hospital admission, and little correlation between radiographic findings and the presenting signs and symptoms. It is, therefore, suggested that the indications for skull radiography in the management of head injuries require reappraisal.

MeSH terms

  • Craniocerebral Trauma / diagnostic imaging*
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • False Negative Reactions
  • Hematoma, Subdural / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Patient Admission
  • Radiography
  • Scalp / injuries
  • Skull / diagnostic imaging*
  • Skull Fractures / diagnostic imaging
  • Skull Fractures / epidemiology