Growing skull fractures: guidelines for early diagnosis and surgical management
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Growing skull fracture (GSF) is a rare complication of pediatric head trauma and causes delayed onset neurological deficits and cranial defect. GSF usually develops following linear fracture with underlying dural tear resulting in herniation of the brain. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential to avoid complications. However, there are no clear-cut guidelines for the early diagnosis of GSF. The present study was conducted to identify the criteria for the early diagnosis of GSF.
Material and methods
From 2010 to 2015, all pediatric patients of head trauma with linear fracture were evaluated. Patients of age <5 years with cephalhematoma, bone diastasis of 4 mm or more with underlying brain contusion were subjected to contrast brain MRI to find out the dural tear and herniation of the brain matter. Patients with contrast MRI showing dural tear and herniation of the brain matter were considered high risk for the development of GSF and treated surgically within 1 month of trauma. Patients with contrast brain MRI not showing dural tear and herniation of the brain matter were regularly followed for any signs of GSF.
A total of 20 patients were evaluated, out of which 16 showed dural defects with herniation of the brain matter and were subjected to duraplasty. Four patients in which MRI did not show dural tear and herniation of the brain matter were regularly followed-up and have not shown any sign of GSF later on follow-up.
Early diagnosis of GSF can be made based on the four criteria, i.e., (1) age <5 year with cephalhematoma, (2) bone diastasis 4 mm or more (3) underlying brain contusion (4) contrast MRI showing dural tear and herniation of the brain matter. Dural tear with herniation of the brain matter is the main etiopathogenic factor for the development of GSF. Early diagnosis and treatment of GSF can yield a good outcome.
KeywordsGrowing skull fracture Cephalhematoma Dural tear
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
Authors have no conflict of interest to disclose.
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