Complications of Depressed Skull Fractures

cranioMy law firm has represented many people who have suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of a vehicle or motorcycle accident.  As a Sacramento Brain Injury Attorney my office is experienced in helping represent individuals who have endured a head injury due to no fault of their own.  As a Sacramento Motorcycle Accident Attorney I have unfortunately seen many people suffer horrible head trauma, most notably, depressed skull fractures.

Most patients with a depressed fracture of the skull which has been properly treated recover rapidly and completely.  In the majority, brain damage is limited to the immediate vicinity of the fracture, and this precludes prolonged unconsciousness with its attendant hazards, unless there is in addition a blunt (acceleration) component to the injury.

Complications of Depressed Skull Fractures

However, several serious complications may threaten even those patients whose initial injury appears relatively trivial:

1) Compound fractures carry the risk of intracranial infections.
2) Damage to dura and brain may result in intracranial hematomas.
3) Involvement of the dural venous sinuses by the fracture may result in torrential hemorrhage when elevation is attempted.                                                                                                                               4) Epilepsy may develop soon after injury or following an interval of months or years.

Some of these complications can be prevented by good management, which must be based on awareness of the implications of this type of injury.


A depressed fracture is here defined as one involving depression of a bone fragment by at least the thickness of the skull.


Post-traumatic amnesia (P.T.A.): This is defined as the time from injury to the appearance of continuous memory, and is thought to be a more useful index of generalized brain damage than duration of unconsciousness. The P.T.A. was determined before discharge from hospital and checked whenever possible at the outpatient clinic.


1) Dyspepsia [impairment of speech, consisting of lack of coordination and failure to arrange words in their proper order due to a central lesion of the brain.
2) Visual field defects [e.g. dark spots or scotomas in the visual field, loss of vision in one half the field].


A depressed fracture is said to be complicated if one or more of the following were associated :

1) Cortical types of motor and sensory deficit [e.g. muscle weakness in an extremity];
2) Infection of the scalp wound;                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3) Meningitis; and 4) Intracranial abscess.

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Motorcycle Accident Lawyer with the primary accident information site on the web,

If you or a loved one has been involved in a serious auto or motorcycle accident, and would like help from an experienced and knowledgeable Sacramento Brain Injury Lawyer, please call right away (916) 921-6400, or toll-free at (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly advice.

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