What Is the Healing Process for an Occipital Bone Skull Fracture?

April 20, 2018

Any head injury is serious. Damage to the skull or brain can change your life forever and have debilitating effects. Occipital bone skull fractures are severe head injuries. If you suffered an occipital bone skull fracture, it is important to understand some facts about them, including the healing process.

Types of Occipital Bone Skull Fractures

There are four main types of skull fractures:
1. Closed
2. Open
3. Depressed
4. Basal
A closed fracture occurs when the damage is beneath the skin and there is no visible injury. An open fracture, also known as a compound fracture, describes a fracture causing the skin to break and there is bone visible.
A depressed fracture is when the impact is severe enough to make the skull indent, pushing into the brain. A basal fracture occurs in the base of the skull, often affecting the eyes, ears, and nose.

What are the Symptoms from an Occipital Bone Skull Fracture?

The symptoms of skull fractures can vary depending on the severity of your wound and the type of fracture that you sustained. Some of the more serious symptoms include:

  • Bleeding from the wound, near the wound, or around the eyes, ears, and nose
  • Bruising near the wound, under the eyes, or behind the ears
  • Severe pain
  • Swelling at the point of impact
  • Redness or warmth at the point of impact

Some of the less intense symptoms include:
• Headache
• Nausea and vomiting
• Blurred vision
• Restlessness and irritability
• Poor balance
• Stiff neck
• Unresponsive pupils
• Confusion
• Drowsiness
• Fainting

Diagnosing an Occipital Skull Fracture

Some physicians can examine the head to determine the severity of the occipital skull fracture, but most doctors order X-rays, CTs, or MRIs to view images and gain a thorough idea about the injury and how to treat it. The most common test is a CT scan, which gives doctors a three-dimensional image of your brain and the clearest image of your fracture.

What is the Healing Process and Treatment of Occipital Bone Skull Fractures?

Doctors do not treat skull fractures in the same way as other fractures. It is important to protect the brain while treating the fracture. Doctors consider a patient’s age, size, sex, and various other factors. Medical therapy is an option for skull fracture treatment in which adults with simple fractures and no neurological damage may be discharged to heal at home. Most fractures that are a single line, referred to as linear fractures, and do not show any neurological damage do not require extensive treatment.
Simple depressed fractures usually heal on their own and generally smooth out over time. More complicated depressed fractures, however, may require surgery if the depression is deep enough. Severe depressed fractures have a harder time healing without surgery.
Open fractures subject to contamination may require antibiotics. However, infants and children with open fractures usually need some type of surgery as part of their treatment. Surgery is generally more common among people who suffered a skull fracture in car accidents or from a hard object hitting them on the head.
Doctors often prescribe medication to manage pain, and most skull fractures will heal on their own over time. The average time for a skull fracture to heal is six weeks.
If you suffered an occipital bone skull fracture from someone’s negligence, contact the experienced San Diego brain injury attorneys at Estey & Bomberger, LLP today! Call for a free consultation! (619) 295-0035