online fracture references
Get great free widgets at Widgetbox!
Copyright Forensic Medicine Resources 2007. All rights reserved
The normal thickness of the skull is approximately 4-15 mm (depending upon the site at which it is measured), and the presence of a skull fracture is an indication that severe force has been applied to the skull. Fractures occur when the elastic limit of the bone has been exceeded, and the formation of a skull fracture depends upon the force applied, the point of impact (thickness of the skull), presence of scalp hair and the direction of impact.
The presence or absence of a skull fracture does not, however, determine survival, as it is the presence or absence of underlying damage to the brain or its coverings that is important.
Saukko and Knight (2004) reviewed the force required to cause fractures of the skull, and noted that the average adult head weighs 4.5Kg. A simple fracture can occur by walking into a fixed object (force required = 73N), whilst a simple fall through 1 m causing a frontal impact (510N) can also result in linear or mosaic fractures. Fractures have been absent when an impact force of 1314 N was recorded.
Skull fractures may be classified by their appearance (Saukko and Knight 2004);
Complications of skull fractures
· Meningeal haemorrhage
· Brain damage