Skull fractures do not only affect the bone but often have an impact on the brain, too. Unfortunately, as a lot of force is necessary to crack the bone in the first place, victims of skull fractures often deal with traumatic damage to the brain as well.
In what ways do these fractures impact the brain? How do they alter the brain’s functions or overall health?
Neurological damage in skull fracture incidents
Merck Manual takes a look at skull fractures in crash victims. As mentioned, due to the force needed to fracture the skull in the first place, many victims will also deal with traumatic brain injuries (TBI) on top of any other damage faced.
This often manifests in neurological symptoms due to injury of the soft tissue. Victims may vomit repeatedly, experience seizures, or have full or partial paralysis of various parts of the body. Some may even experience total paralysis, unable to move anything at all. Others fall comatose. These effects often set in within seconds or minutes depending on the severity of the brain damage.
Skull fractures will also result sometimes in intracranial hemorrhaging, which often shows when blood pools in the hollow areas of the skull. In specific, this can cause bruises behind the ears or around the eyes. A broken bone may also puncture the areas full of cerebrospinal fluid, resulting in clear fluid leaking from the nose or ears as well.
If left untreated, skull fractures can cause brain swelling that can lead to oxygen deprivation and permanent cell death. This is why skull fractures are a medical emergency that requires quick medical attention.