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Skull fracture

Skull fracture

Overview

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 and may be accompanied by injury to the brain. Some of the different types of skull fracture include:

  • Simple -- a break in the bone without damage to the skin.
  • Linear or hairline -- a break in a cranial bone resembling a thin line, without splintering, depression, or distortion of bone.
  • Depressed -- a break in a cranial bone (or "crushed" portion of skull) with depression of the bone in toward the brain.
  • Compound -- a break in or loss of skin and splintering of the bone. Along with the fracture, brain injury, such as subdural hematoma (bleeding) may occur.

Review Date 9/23/2019

Updated by: Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Emeritus, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.