What are the signs and symptoms of basilar skull fracture?

Updated: Sep 27, 2018
  • Author: Nazer H Qureshi, MD; Chief Editor: Brian H Kopell, MD  more...
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Answer

Patients with fractures of the petrous temporal bone present with CSF otorrhea and bruising over the mastoids, ie, Battle sign. Presentation with anterior cranial fossa fractures is with CSF rhinorrhea and bruising around the eyes, ie, "raccoon eyes." Loss of consciousness and Glasgow Coma Score may vary depending on an associated intracranial pathologic condition.

Longitudinal temporal bone fractures result in ossicular chain disruption and conductive deafness of greater than 30 dB that lasts longer than 6-7 weeks. Temporary deafness that resolves in less than 3 weeks is due to hemotympanum and mucosal edema in the middle ear fossa. Facial palsy, nystagmus, and facial numbness are secondary to involvement of the VII, VI, and V cranial nerves, respectively. Transverse temporal bone fractures involve the VIII cranial nerve and the labyrinth, resulting in nystagmus, ataxia, and permanent neural hearing loss.

Occipital condylar fracture is a very rare and serious injury. [24] Most of the patients with occipital condylar fracture, especially with type III, are in a coma and have other associated cervical spinal injuries. These patients may also present with other lower cranial nerve injuries and hemiplegia or quadriplegia.

Vernet syndrome or jugular foramen syndrome is involvement of the IX, X, and XI cranial nerves with the fracture. Patients present with difficulty in phonation and aspiration and ipsilateral motor paralysis of the vocal cord, soft palate (curtain sign), superior pharyngeal constrictor, sternocleidomastoid, and trapezius.

Collet-Sicard syndrome is occipital condylar fracture with IX, X, XI, and XII cranial nerve involvement. [25, 26, 27]


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