Encyclopedia Home / S / Skull fracture

Skull fracture

  • Definition

    A skull fracture is a fracture or break in the cranial (skull) bones.

    See also: Concussion

    Alternative Names

    Basilar skull fracture; Depressed skull fracture; Linear skull fracture


    Skull fractures may occur with head injuries. Although the skull is tough, resilient, and provides excellent protection for the brain, a severe impact or blow can result in fracture of the skull. It may be accompanied by injury to the brain.

    The brain can be affected directly by damage to the nervous system tissue and bleeding. The brain can also be affected indirectly by blood clots that form under the skull and then compress the underlying brain tissue (subdural or epidural hematoma).

    A simple fracture is a break in the bone without damage to the skin.

    A linear skull fracture is a break in a cranial bone resembling a thin line, without splintering, depression, or distortion of bone.

    A depressed skull fracture is a break in a cranial bone (or "crushed" portion of skull) with depression of the bone in toward the brain.

    A compound fracture involves a break in, or loss of, skin and splintering of the bone.

    • Head trauma
    • Falls, automobile accidents, physical assault, and sports