The Diagnosis of Orbital Fractures
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer. Those who have been involved in an auto accident understand that serious medical problems can develop from even the smallest of motor vehicle collisions. One possible injury is an orbital fracture.
The Physical Exam
As with most traumatic injuries, the first step in the diagnosis of an orbital fracture is to conduct a physical exam. The physician will start with a visual inspection of the orbit, looking for obvious signs of deformation of the facial structure and leaking of fluid from the orbit itself. The physician will ask the patient to move their eye in all of the cardinal directions, typically in the shape of an “H.” This helps to assess the muscle and nerve strength of the eye after suffering eye trauma. Finally, the physician will test the patient’s vision of the eye. During the entire process, the doctor will compare the injured eye to the healthy eye, assuming that the other eye is unharmed.
Imaging Will be Necessary
If the clinical signs and symptoms increase the suspicion of an orbital fracture, the next step will be imaging. An x-ray may be ordered first due to its speed and low radiation exposure; however, the gold standard of diagnosis will be a CT scan. This is a continuous x-ray that will take images in a three-dimensional shape, producing a picture of the injured eye. A CT scan is fantastic at highlighting bone fractures, including facial fractures, but if there is suspicion of damage to the muscles or nerves, an MRI scan may be ordered as well.
Categorizing of the Fracture is Important
The eye is encased in a bony structure on almost every side and a bone fracture can occur in any direction relative to the globe of the eye. The CT scan will define the extent of the bone fracture and determine the proper next step. A few orbital fracture categories include:
- Trapdoor Fracture: This is a fracture of the floor of the orbit, caused by trauma from below.
- Medial Fracture: This is a fracture of the side of the orbit closest to the bridge of the nose.
- Lateral Fracture: This is a fracture of the orbit on the side closest to the ear, often caused by a blow to the side of the head.
- Superior Fracture: This is a fracture to the roof of the orbital skeleton due to trauma from above.
Contact an Experienced Sacramento Personal Injury Attorney
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer. Orbital fractures are serious injuries that can compromise a patient’s ability to see. If you, or a loved one has sustained an orbital fracture, please reach out to me at (916) 921-6400 for friendly, free advice. For those calling from outside of the Sacramento area, I also have a toll-free line available at (800) 404-5400.
I am a member of the California chapter of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. This is a group of attorneys that has been ranked within the top trial lawyers in the country. Lawyers in this group have won verdicts or settled cases in excess of $1 Million dollars.
A listing of my settlements and verdicts can be viewed here.
Image Attribution: Wikimedia Commons