A slip-and-fall accident can result in severe injuries. However, the types of injuries that are most likely depend on factors such as the force and direction of the fall. For example, a backward fall may be more likely to result in a fracture of the base of the skull.
There are different types of skull fractures that can range in severity, but Johns Hopkins Medicine describes a basilar skull fracture as the most serious. Patients often require hospitalization and close observation following this type of injury.
How common are basilar skull fractures?
According to Stat Pearls, basilar skull fractures do not occur very often. Only about one out of five skull fractures occur at the base of the skull, and only about 4% of all serious head injuries involve a basilar skull fracture. Nevertheless, falls are one of the most common causes of basilar skull fractures, along with assaults and motor vehicle collisions.
What are the signs of a basilar skull fracture?
A basilar skull fracture can cause neurological symptoms, such as ringing in the ears or dizziness. Another neurological sign is nystagmus, which is a name for an involuntary motion of the eyeballs that is abnormal and may be jerky.
Basilar skull fractures can also cause bleeding, which can cause distinctive bruising patterns behind the ears or around the eyes. The cerebrospinal fluid is a clear liquid that surrounds and cushions the brain inside the skull. A basilar skull fracture can cause this to leak out, which may lead to drainage from the ears or nose.
Symptoms of basilar skull fracture can take time to develop. If observed after a fall, the patient should receive immediate medical attention.