The complications of basilar skull fracture in mild head injury patients


  • Tanya Pitiyakulchorn Department of Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University
  • Boriboon Chenthanakij Department of Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University
  • Tanat Vaniyapong Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University
  • Krongkarn Sutham Department of Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University


mild head injury, basilar skull fracture, complication, head CT scan


Introduction/Objective: Diagnosis of basilar skull fracture requires high resolution head computer tomography (CT) scan which takes up high costs and usually not available in most hospital. This study aim to find prevalence of intracranial hemorrhage and other complications in patient with basilar skull fracture from mild traumatic head injury to determine the need of head CT scan.

Methods: In a retrospective descriptive study, all patients age 15 years old or more who presented to emergency department with mild traumatic head injury and had signs of basilar skull fracture were enrolled. Diagnosis of basilar skull fracture was confirmed by head CT scan. We collected data from January, 2009 to September, 2012 to analyze and report complications of basilar skull fracture.

Results: Mild head injury patients who had basilar skull fracture confirmed by head CT scan and had symptoms of basilar skull fracture 65 cases were include in study. Complications were found in 61 patients (95.4%). Most complications were intracranial hemorrhage and cranial nerve compression which were found in 70.5% and 9.8% respectively. Among these patients, 12 (19.7%) were underwent cranial surgery. In patients who were performed head CT scan due to signs of basilar skull fracture, 70.3% of patients had complication. Signs of basilar skull fracture occurred in 58% of patients whom basilar skull fracture confirmed by head CT scan. The median length of hospital stay was 4 days.

Conclusion: Mild traumatic head injury patients who present with signs of basilar skull fracture has high rate of complication and considerable number of this group need surgical treatment. Therefore, head CT scan should be performed in all mild traumatic head injury patient who has any signs of basilar skull fracture.


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How to Cite

Pitiyakulchorn T, Chenthanakij B, Vaniyapong T, Sutham K. The complications of basilar skull fracture in mild head injury patients. TJEM [Internet]. 2019 Dec. 30 [cited 2024 Jun. 17];1(1):17-25. Available from: