Types of Temporal Bone Fractures

Dr. Gul Moonis supervises residents and fellows as a radiologist at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts. There, Gul Moonis, MD, regularly shares her expertise in a wide variety of areas in the field of radiology, including imaging of the temporal bone in cases of severe trauma.

A possible consequence of blunt injury to the head is damage to the temporal bone. When this type of injury occurs, hemorrhage, fracture, and damage to the structures of the inner ear may occur. Therefore, careful evaluation of medical imaging of the area is very important.

When evaluating imaging of the temporal bone in a patient, the doctor will check for fractures. A fracture is typically described in relation to the petrous bone, which forms a long axis. If the fracture is parallel to this axis, it is said to be longitudinal. A transverse fracture is perpendicular to the axis formed by the petrous bone.

Sometimes both longitudinal and transverse fractures present themselves together. These mixed fractures, called oblique fractures, are relatively common. They may result in a variety of issues, such as facial nerve damage and hearing loss. Thorough evaluation by a professional can reveal an accurate picture of these issues and help give patients the best possible prognosis.

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