<%server.execute "isdev.asp"%> Linear undisplaced fracture of temporoparietal bone acting as spontaneous early decompressive craniotomy in a neonate Vankipuram S, Balasubramanium S, Tyagi DK, Savant H V - J Pediatr Neurosci
home : about us : ahead of print : current issue : archives search instructions : subscriptionLogin 
Users online: 2118      Small font sizeDefault font sizeIncrease font size Print this page Email this page

  Table of Contents    
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 261-263

Linear undisplaced fracture of temporoparietal bone acting as spontaneous early decompressive craniotomy in a neonate

Department of Neurosurgery, Topiwala National Medical College, and Bai Yamunabai Laxman Charitable Nair Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Date of Web Publication18-Sep-2015

Correspondence Address:
Siddharth Vankipuram
Department of Neurosurgery, Topiwala National Medical College and Bai Yamunabai Laxman Charitable Nair Hospital, Mumbai Central, Mumbai, Maharashtra
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1817-1745.165692

Rights and Permissions



Decompressive craniotomy (DC) is used to treat intracranial hypertension associated with traumatic brain injury. Early DC is associated with better outcomes. We present a neonate with a history of fall with computed tomography scan showing a large frontoparietal contusion and associated parietal and temporal bone fracture. This acted as a spontaneous DC causing bony segment to separate due to which the edematous brain could be accommodated. Despite the presence of a large contusion, the child was neurologically intact and medically managed. The neonate presented with a posttraumatic leptomeningeal cyst 2 months later, which had to be repaired surgically. We discuss how a linear undisplaced fracture acts as spontaneous DC and the role of early DC in improving outcomes.

Keywords: Decompressive craniotomy, intracranial hypertension, linear skull fracture, pediatric traumatic brain injury

How to cite this article:
Vankipuram S, Balasubramanium S, Tyagi DK, Savant H V. Linear undisplaced fracture of temporoparietal bone acting as spontaneous early decompressive craniotomy in a neonate. J Pediatr Neurosci 2015;10:261-3

How to cite this URL:
Vankipuram S, Balasubramanium S, Tyagi DK, Savant H V. Linear undisplaced fracture of temporoparietal bone acting as spontaneous early decompressive craniotomy in a neonate. J Pediatr Neurosci [serial online] 2015 [cited 2023 Jan 30];10:261-3. Available from: https://www.pediatricneurosciences.com/text.asp?2015/10/3/261/165692

   Introduction Top

Posttraumatic cerebral edema leading to refractory intracranial hypertension is the main prognostic factor in brain-injured patients. [1] Morbidity and mortality occur as a result of transtentorial herniation caused by mass effect due to cerebral swelling. [1] The combined medical and surgical objective during the acute phase is to prevent raised intracranial pressure (ICP) and maintain cerebral perfusion pressure in order to limit the development of secondary lesions. [2] Early decompressive craniotomy (DC) is a method for decreasing raised ICP and has been associated with better outcomes. [3] In neonates, as the cranial sutures are open, any associated fracture may relieve the raised ICP due to craniotomy flap-elevation like effect.

   Case Report Top

An 8-day-old male child was brought to the emergency room with a history of fall from a cradle of about 3 feet height followed by loss of consciousness for half an hour. The child was crying incessantly and not breastfeeding. There was no history of convulsions, vomiting or ear, nose, and throat bleed. On examination, the neonate was vitally stable, alert, conscious, moving all four limbs with no focal neurological deficit. Pupils were bilaterally equal reacting to light. The physical examination showed a large swelling in the left temporal region behind the ear (Battle's sign) [Figure 1].
Figure 1: Photograph on the day of admission showing a swelling in the left temporoparietal region with Battle's sign

Click here to view

Computed tomography (CT) of the brain showed a large left sided frontoparietal contusion with brain herniation through the fracture segment [Figure 2]. There was no midline shift or brainstem compression.
Figure 2: Plain axial computed tomography scan brain shows a large hyperdense area in the left frontoparietal region suggestive of a contusion (black arrow), as well as brain herniation, with underlying sutural widening

Click here to view

Based on the clinical examination and CT findings, a decision was taken to medically manage the patient with anti-epileptic medications and monitor for any signs of raised ICP. The child showed progressive improvement in the neurological condition and was discharged after 8 days and asked to follow-up for dural repair and cranioplasty after 3 weeks. The child was lost to follow-up and presented 2 months later with a cystic, nonpulsatile 5 cm × 4 cm swelling in the left temporal region. This swelling was progressively increasing in size. There was no seizure or developmental delay. CT scan showed a large cystic lesion in the left temporoparietal region with underlying bone defect [Figure 3]. A diagnosis of growing fracture skull (posttraumatic leptomeningeal cyst) was established, and surgical intervention planned. The neonate underwent duraplasty with pericranial graft and cranioplasty with titanium mesh plate 70 days after the head injury insult [Figure 4]. The infant tolerated the procedure well and was discharged after suture removal. On 6 months follow-up, the infant was doing well with no neurological deficits or wound-related complications.
Figure 3: Plain axial computed tomography scan showing a large 6 cm × 3.2 cm × 5.3 cm cystic lesion in the left temporoparietal region with underlying bone defect in the temporal bone (black arrow)

Click here to view
Figure 4: Intraoperative photograph showing titanium mesh plate with underlying pericranial dural graft

Click here to view

   Discussion Top

Head injury is likely to occur in children and adolescents ranging from 0 to 19 years in approximately 200 per 100,000 populations with a mortality rate of 29%, according to the National Center for Health Statistic. [4] Different components, such as vasogenic and cytotoxic edema and possibly cerebral vasocongestion contribute to posttraumatic brain swelling. [1],[3] This brain swelling is associated with an exponential rise in the ICP and eventually leads to brain herniation syndromes. [1]

In infants with open sutures, the relative increases in the ICP and their tolerance remain unknown though there is a concern with regards to susceptibility to ischemic injury.

Any fracture extending across the cranial suture in an infant can cause bony separation leading to an open cranial vault. Linear skull fracture in association with open sutures can lead to a condition wherein an effect similar to DC is achieved. In adults with a thick solid skull, the linear undisplaced fracture cannot expand and therefore probably will not tolerate an increase in ICP as well.

The 2012 Pediatric Head Injury Guidelines state that decompressive craniectomy with duraplasty, leaving the bone flap out, may be considered for pediatric patients with traumatic brain injuries (TBI) who are showing early signs of neurological deterioration or herniation. [5]

The timing of DC is one important prognostic factor in the outcome. Taylor et al. hypothesized that early craniotomy (within 6 h of injury) in pediatric patients with refractory raised ICP would result in better outcomes than following the historic standard of care, which reserved surgery as a final intervention in these patients. [6] Similar studies by Kan et al. demonstrated good results with an early craniotomy. [7] In our patient, we believe that the early DC achieved by linear undisplaced fracture and sutural diastasis prevented the development of raised ICP leading to quick clinical improvement.

Adelson et al. has recommended the following criteria for selecting favorable patients for craniotomy in children: (1) Diffuse cerebral swelling on cranial CT imaging; (2) within 48 h of injury; (3) no episodes of sustained ICP >40 mm Hg before surgery; (4) Glasgow Coma Scale score >3 at some point subsequent to injury; (5) secondary clinical deterioration; and (6) evolving cerebral herniation syndrome. [8] While, our patient initially presented with diffuse cerebral swelling on CT, the infant was otherwise neurologically intact and showed no signs of raised ICP. Thus, an emergency surgery was not warranted, and early dural repair was planned.

Martin et al. found high rates of bone resorption following autologous bone grafting in pediatric TBI patients similar to our previous experience. [9] Due to this and the size of the cranial defect in our patient, we performed the cranioplasty using the titanium mesh plate.

   Conclusion Top

Linear undisplaced fracture in neonates along with open sutures may act as a DC relieving the raised ICP almost immediately. Such infants in whom there are no signs of raised intracranial tension can be managed conservatively if the decompression effect achieved is adequate. However, these patients usually need dural repair as they develop growing fracture skull. Hence, a close clinical and radiological follow-up is essential. As the effect of decompression is achieved almost immediately, these patients tend to have better outcomes.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

   References Top

Alberico AM, Ward JD, Choi SC, Marmarou A, Young HF. Outcome after severe head injury. Relationship to mass lesions, diffuse injury, and ICP course in pediatric and adult patients. J Neurosurg 1987;67:648-56.  Back to cited text no. 1
Baethmann A, Kempski OS. Pathophysiology of brain edema. Zentralbl Neurochir 1997;58:20-9.  Back to cited text no. 2
Chiaretti A, Piastra M, Pulitanò S, Pietrini D, De Rosa G, Barbaro R, et al. Prognostic factors and outcome of children with severe head injury: An 8-year experience. Childs Nerv Syst 2002;18:129-36.  Back to cited text no. 3
National Center for Health Statistics. Available from: . [Last accessed on 2010 Apr 01].  Back to cited text no. 4
Kochanek PM, Carney N, Adelson PD, Ashwal S, Bell MJ, Bratton S, et al. Guidelines for the acute medical management of severe traumatic brain injury in infants, children, and adolescents - Second edition. Pediatr Crit Care Med 2012;13 Suppl 1:S1-82.  Back to cited text no. 5
Taylor A, Butt W, Rosenfeld J, Shann F, Ditchfield M, Lewis E, et al. A randomized trial of very early decompressive craniectomy in children with traumatic brain injury and sustained intracranial hypertension. Childs Nerv Syst 2001;17:154-62.  Back to cited text no. 6
Kan P, Amini A, Hansen K, White GL Jr, Brockmeyer DL, Walker ML, et al. Outcomes after decompressive craniectomy for severe traumatic brain injury in children. J Neurosurg 2006;105 5 Suppl: 337-42.  Back to cited text no. 7
Adelson PD, Bratton SL, Carney NA, Chesnut RM, du Coudray HE, Goldstein B, et al. Guidelines for the acute medical management of severe traumatic brain injury in infants, children, and adolescents. Chapter 6. Threshold for treatment of intracranial hypertension. Pediatr Crit Care Med 2003;4 3 Suppl: S25-7.  Back to cited text no. 8
Martin KD, Franz B, Kirsch M, Polanski W, von der Hagen M, Schackert G, et al. Autologous bone flap cranioplasty following decompressive craniectomy is combined with a high complication rate in pediatric traumatic brain injury patients. Acta Neurochir (Wien) 2014;156:813-24.  Back to cited text no. 9


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4]


Print this article  Email this article
    Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
    Article in PDF (1,053 KB)
    Citation Manager
    Access Statistics
    Reader Comments
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

   Case Report
    Article Figures

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded77    
    Comments [Add]    

Recommend this journal