Basilar skull fracture

Basilar Skull Fracture

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Basilar skull fracture

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A basilar skull fracture (or basal skull fracture) is a fracture of the base of the skull, typically involving the temporal bone, occipital bone, sphenoid bone, and/or ethmoid bone.

This type of fracture is rare, occurring as the only fracture in just 4% of severe head injury patients.

Such fractures can cause tears in the membranes surrounding the brain, or meninges, with resultant leakage of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). The leaking fluid may accumulate in the middle ear space, and dribble out through a perforated eardrum (CSF otorrhea) or into the nasopharynx via the eustachian tube, causing a salty taste. CSF may also drip from the nose (CSF rhinorrhea) in fractures of the anterior skull base, yielding a halo sign. These signs are pathognomonic for basilar skull fracture.


Basilar skull fractures include breaks in the posterior skull base or anterior skull base. The former involve the occipital bone, temporal bone, and portions of the sphenoid bone; the latter, superior...
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