The soccer world cup in Brazil is getting more exciting with each passing day. As much as soccer is known for the entertaining contests it is also known for the excruciating injuries sustained by players. Who could forget legendary Chelsea goalkeeper Peter Cech’s depressed skull fracture sustained in a 2006 match which nearly cost him his life. Not just sports, a skull fracture might be caused during any activity if your head sustains a heavy blow. Here is all you need to know about skull fractures and their treatment.
What is a skull fracture?
A skull fracture is nothing but a type of break in the neurocranium (part of the skull which protects the brain). This break can be in one or more of the total 8 bones which comprise the neurocranium. Our skull is made up of three layers – the outermost layer is hard and compact called as the lamina externa, the middle layer is diploe which consists of spongy red bone marrow and the compact innermost layer known as the lamina interna. Concussions are a caused by blunt blows to the head of any intensity. Unlike popular belief a concussion might be caused without loss of consciousness. Skull fractures may lead to damage to the membranes, blood vessels and the brain itself.
Types of skull fracture
There are 4 major types of skull fractures out of which linear fractures are most commonly observed.
- Linear skull fracture
The linear skull fracture is caused by a break in the bone with full thickness. Blunt force injuries cause the skull to crack in a straight (linear) manner with the energy absorbed over a wide surface are. There is no bone displacement and so medically linear skull fractures have little significance.
- Depressed skull fracture
Skull fractures which involve breaking of the outer skull bone and inward displacement of the broken pieces is known as a depressed skull fracture. Blunt force trauma such as being struck with a hammer or a rock, being kicked in the head or head trauma in a road accident might cause the fracture. The displaced bone pieces cause increase in the intracranial pressure (ICP) of the brain which crushes delicate tissue. The broken bone pieces usually require surgical intervention. This fracture is also more dangerous because of the risk of contamination at the point of depression.
- Diastatic skull fracture
Skull suture is a fibrous joint that binds the bones of neurocranium together. A diastatic fracture causes the sutures to widen as the fracture affects more than one bone. It is usually seen in infants and children under the age of three years as their sutures are not yet fused together. In adults, the diastatic fracture is caused to the lambodial suture which remains in a semi-fused state till 60.
- Basilar skull fracture
A very rarely occurring fracture, basilar fractures are caused to a blow to the base of the skull. The rarity of this fracture is attributed to the awkward location.
A concussion however small should be medically examined. A symptom as common as a headache could save your life!