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Skull fractures: The dangers and complications

Hitting your head on the ground, on a car window or on your steering wheel is likely to leave a mark, and for some, it splits the skull open. Skull fractures are extremely dangerous depending on their severity. There are multiple kinds of fractures, and they may or may not be accompanied by brain injuries.

As a victim of a crash, you should fully understand the kind of injuries you suffered. A skull fracture is a serious injury and has to be addressed. Here's what you should know.

Understanding the types of skull fractures

Skull fractures come in a few forms, including basal, linear, comminuted, depressed, open and closed. Basal fractures occur along the base of the skull, near the eyes, nose, spine and top of the neck. Linear occur in a straight line, whereas comminuted break into at least three pieces. Depressed fractures are best described as indents that impact the skull, pushing inward. Open fractures have broken skin, and the bone may protrude. Closed fractures do not break the skin.

Symptoms of fractures stand out

Symptoms of fractures stand out to providers and patients. There could be bleeding from the wound, but it's also possible to have bleeding from the nose, eyes or ears.

Bruising is common around the site where the injury occurred, and someone with a fracture may develop Battle's sign, i.e., large bruises extending from the back of the ear, or bruising around the eyes. Severe pain is expected with any skull fracture, as well as swelling and redness or warmth.

There are some less serious symptoms that may make someone think they've not suffered a fracture. For instance, a person with a loss of balance, confusion or nausea may attribute their symptoms to other conditions. Other signs of a fracture, like excessive drowsiness, fainting or headaches, may also seem unrelated but actually be a result of a fracture.

Diagnosis is key to recovery

Diagnosis is an important part of recovery for those with skull fractures. Symptoms may not always seem like they're from fractures, but if a fracture isn't caught, it could lead to worsening injuries. Using CT scans, X-rays and other techniques, your doctor can identify if a fracture is the cause of your symptoms. If so, you may require treatments such as surgery, medication or other procedures.

A skull fracture can put your life on hold while you recover. Keep in mind that you may need to rest a significant amount of time to allow your bones and body to recover.

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