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Table of Contents    
Year : 2012  |  Volume : 60  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 448-449

Compound elevated skull fracture mimicking a frontotemporoorbitozygomatic craniotomy flap

Department of Neurosurgery, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore, Karnataka, India

Date of Web Publication6-Sep-2012

Correspondence Address:
Bhagavatula Indira Devi
Department of Neurosurgery, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0028-3886.100737

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How to cite this article:
Sharma R, Saligouda P, Bhat DI, Devi BI. Compound elevated skull fracture mimicking a frontotemporoorbitozygomatic craniotomy flap. Neurol India 2012;60:448-9

How to cite this URL:
Sharma R, Saligouda P, Bhat DI, Devi BI. Compound elevated skull fracture mimicking a frontotemporoorbitozygomatic craniotomy flap. Neurol India [serial online] 2012 [cited 2023 Jun 9];60:448-9. Available from:


Elevated skull fracture is defined as fracture in which a fractured bone segment is elevated above the level of the intact skull. [1] We report a very rare and interesting case of traumatic bone flap avulsion, which resembled a surgical craniotomy flap in size and shape.

A 25-year-old male, who had hit a roadside electric pole while driving a bike under the influence of alcohol presented to emergency department in an unconscious state. He was hemodynamically stable and there was no polytrauma. He was not opening eyes to pain, not obeying but localising, making incomprehensible sounds, pupils were equal and reacting, and there were no focal deficits. There was a large left frontotemporal degloving scalp injury with elevated underlying bone fracture segment adhered to the avulsed scalp flap [Figure 1]a. Dural tears were seen in the exposed dura, through which cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) was leaking and pulsating brain matter could be seen. Computed tomography (CT) head [Figure 1]b-d showed a left frontotemporoorbitozygomatic elevated skull fracture (single piece) involving lateral and superior orbital roof and left frontal sinus and small contusions in the underlying brain. He underwent wound debridement, thorough wound wash, repair of two dural tears using temporalis fascia graft, exteriorisation of frontal sinus using pericranial graft, reduction and fixation of elevated fracture segment, and two layered scalp wound closure after keeping sub-galeal suction wound drain. Fractured calvarial segment resembled a frontotemporoorbitozygomaticotomy bone flap in size and shape. Holes were drilled at margins of bone flap and bone flap was fixed to adjacent bone and soft tissues using silk threads. Postoperative recovery was uneventful [Figure 2]. Scalp wound was healthy at one month follow up.
Figure 1: Preoperative clinical photograph (a) and CT head (b,c,d) showing degloving scalp wound, avulsed bone flap and exposed dura

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Figure 2: Postoperative clinical photograph (a) and CT head (b,c,d)

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Fractured calvarial segment can be elevated due to the following mechanisms: (1) injury caused by a sharp heavy object which elevates the skull fracture by lateral pull of weapon; (2) elevation of free fragment while retrieving the weapon; and (3) tangential force applied to the calvarium associated with rotation of head. [2],[3] Application of tangential force seems to be the mechanism of elevation of bone flap in our patient. Because much of the force is dissipated tangential to the cortical surface and away from it, the degree of scalp and bone injury may be relatively large compared to that of the underlying brain. [4] Extent of injury to brain and its coverings actually depends on the depth of weapon penetration and intensity of impact. CT head plain with bone windows is the investigation of choice because it demonstrates brain and bone injury as well as associated cerebral oedema and hematomas (extra/subdural or intraparenchymal) very well. [3],[5] The surgical principles of management is identical to those of compound depressed fractures with the elevated bone fragments being replaced into position after evacuation of hematoma, thorough wash, and proper closure of the dura. [1],[2],[5],[6] The large bone segment can either be removed or repositioned depending on degree of contamination and quality of debridement. [3],[6] If appropriately managed in time, these injuries have a favourable prognosis as in our case. On reviewing the literature, we came across three case reports of calvarial avulsion injury mimicking craniotomy flap. [6],[7],[8] However, ours is the first patient in the literature in whom avulsed bone flap resembled frontotemporoorbitozygomaticotomy bone flap in size and shape.

 » Acknowledgement Top

Dr. Arun Kumar has contributed equally to this paper.

 » References Top

1.Talha KA, Selvapandian S, Asaduzzamman K, Selina F, Rahman M, Riad M. Compound elevated skull fracture with occlusion of the superior sagittal sinus. A case report. Kobe J Med Sci 2008;54:E260-3.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Adeolu AA, Shokunbi MT, Malomo AO, Komolafe EO, Olateju SO, Amusa YB. Compound elevated skull fracture: A forgotten type of skull fracture. Surg Neurol. 2006;65:503-5.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Chhiber SS, Wani MA, Kirmani AR, Ramzan AU, Malik NK, Wani AA, et al. Elevated skull fractures in pediatric age group: Report of two cases. Turk Neurosurg 2011;21:418-20.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Ralston BL. Compound elevated fractures of the skull. J Neurosurg 1976;44:77-9.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Balasubramaniam S, Tyagi DK, Savant HV. Everted skull fracture. World Neurosurg 2011;76:479.e1-3.  Back to cited text no. 5
6.Borkar SA, Sinha S, Sharma BS. Post-traumatic compound elevated fracture of skull simulating a formal craniotomy. Turk Neurosurg 2009;19:103-5.  Back to cited text no. 6
7.Aniruddha TJ, Indira Devi B, Arivazhagan A. Traumatic avulsion of cranial bone flap simulating craniotomy. Ind J Neurotrauma 2008;5:53.  Back to cited text no. 7
8.Bhaskar S. Compound "elevated" fracture of the cranium. Neurol India 2010;58:149-51.  Back to cited text no. 8


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]

This article has been cited by
1 Compound elevated skull fractures: a retrospective descriptive study
Prashanth Maharaj, Basil Enicker
British Journal of Neurosurgery. 2022; : 1
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
2 Compound elevated skull fractures: Review of literature
G. Lakshmi Prasad,N. Anmol
Brain Injury. 2017; 31(4): 434
[Pubmed] | [DOI]


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