In a motor vehicle accident, you're likely to end up with some kind of injury. One injury that could be particularly dangerous is a skull fracture. It's a common result of hitting your head on a window or the steering wheel. The force of the impact literally splits the bone in some cases, while in others it causes an indentation or thin crack along the skull.
It's possible that you could also suffer a brain injury along with the fracture. Still, it's in your best interests to make sure you seek medical attention to rule out any complications from the impact and fracture.
How can you tell if you have a skull fracture?
Initially, you may notice swelling and tenderness around the area where you hit your head. There may also be a break in the skin and bleeding, but a fracture does not always result in a laceration. Bleeding may occur from the nose or ears,indicating a break near those areas. Facial bruising is also common.
What kinds of skull fractures are there?
Some common kinds include open, depressed, basal and closed fractures. Each has its own features. For instance, an open fracture means the skin has broken. A basal fracture occurs around the eyes, at the top of the neck and around the nose or ears. Depressed fractures may push into the brain when they indent. Closed fractures have no open wounds.
What treatments are necessary for skull fractures?
The treatments used for those with skull fractures vary based on the severity of the fracture. Mild fractures without brain injuries may not require any surgery and can usually heal on their own. Pain medications may be ordered for patients with these minor wounds. More serious injuries, like an open, fractured skull with a brain injury, may require surgery to release pressure or close the wound.
After an impact to your head, it's always a good idea to go to the hospital as soon as possible. Your medical provider may use X-rays, MRIs or other imaging technology to determine if you have suffered from a brain injury or skull fracture. If so, he or she may discuss with you different treatment options and tell you more about what to expect. Every injury is slightly different, so the rate at which you'll heal or recover may vary based on the location and significance of the injury to your head.