The human brain is covered by eight bones that make up the cranial portion of the skull. A crack, hole, break or traumatic injury to any of those bones is a skull fracture.
Since the bones in the skull are quite strong, the force needed to crack or break any of those bones is typically severe. Obviously, the skull is a concern, but of graver concern is the brain beneath the bones of the skull; damage from a skull fracture is likely to affect the underlying physical structures contained within the skull like the brain and all blood vessels and membranes within the cranium. It is possible for a skull fracture to take place without injuring the brain, but it is extremely unlikely.
To understand fractures and how they come about, it’s important to understand those eight bones that make up the cranial skull. By the way, those eight bones are not the only bones in the skull; they are the ones covering the brain itself that are mostly flat, relatively thin, and have little marrow. The jaw bone and other bones in the face are not part of the eight bones. The eight bones form the neurocranium and are separated by what are known as sutures, or permanent knits of bones that are formed in infancy.
The eight bones are:
The Frontal bone
The frontal bone covers the frontal part of the brain, and is one of the larger bones in the cranium. It extends from the forehead past up and around to the first third or so of the brain and essentially protects the temporal lobes of the brain.
The occipital bone is another major bone that covers the back part of the brain and makes up the rounded portion between the ears of the skull to protect the occipital brain lobe.
The sphenoid bone covers the eye area and extends back across the temples to protect each side of the brain.
The parietal bones form the majority of the cranial skull, covering part of the top, back, and side of the head and roughly protecting the parietal lobe of the brain.
The ethmoid bones separate the nasal cavity from the brain and are only affected when another bone has been breached or fractured.
Typical skull fractures are usually found at the temporal or parietal bones due to their relative fragility compared with the more resilient frontal bone, for example. The sphenoid is also a thinner skull bone. But the most vulnerable is at the base of the cranial cavity, at the cranial floor.
Major Types of Skull Fracture
Compound Skull Fractures
Diastatic skull fractures occur when a fracture is severe enough that it crosses one or more of the knitted sutures of the skull and in turn actually causes the natural sutures themselves to split and widen. This is typically an affliction on younger people with severe head trauma, but it is also possible for the sutures to split – called sutural diastasis – when the adult skull receives a severe blow. In children, it can cause other complications as the skull matures.
A linear skull fracture is a complete break or crack in the bone. The breaks are uncomplicated and involve no displacement of the bone. It would be likened to a cracked window caused by a person leaning against it. In other words, the impact was forceful, but the skull cracked along a decent length, without any other damage to the skull structure itself. Although there may still have been severe brain trauma, the skull itself will typically mend without surgery.
A depressed skull fracture, however, is far more complex. When the skull is breached from a foreign object, the skull bones crack inward and splinter or break inside the brain cavity. Depressed skull fractures typically put pressure on the brain itself. The pieces must be removed, the brain must be repaired; and then the skull must be repaired.
The most rare of the group are of basilar fractures. Less than five-percent of all skull fractures are basilar. They are typically caused by a severe shock to the skull which then pulls the entire head away from the spinal column. These types of injuries are typically recognizable by blood and spinal fluid in the nose and ears and a bruising around the eyes which comes from a pooling of blood inside the skull around the sinuses and the eyes.
A fracture is called compound when all layers protecting the brain have been breached, leaving the brain vulnerable to the environment. That means the scalp would be torn, the skull would be fractured, the dura mater would be torn and the inner brain mater itself would be exposed and extremely vulnerable to infection.
Any skull fracture is serious, whatever its classification. And although some of the symptoms may be medically alleviated, the patient may have an altered personality from the point of the accident to the end of his or her life. If the patient fully recovers, it will almost always be a long and complicated process that takes time and money — much of which is missing in a complicated and expensive medical trauma.
Fortunately, you have recourse. Having an attorney with a focus in head injury litigation is critical in providing you the opportunity to get the financial compensation you deserve. You will not pay a thing unless you win your lawsuit. If you win or settle your lawsuit, The Doan Law Firm will charge a percentage of the compensation amount, leaving you free from the costs of the actual court case.
The Doan Law Firm can assist in determining damages owed you after a severe head injury. The Doan Law Firm knows that although accidents don’t wait for daylight hours to happen. However, we’re available to answer your phone call any time, day or night, at(800) 349-0000. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.