Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Incidence Symptoms Evaluation Treatment Home Care neuro checks warning signs Types Anatomy

Broken Skull Home Care

After treatment in the hospital, home care for a skull fracture may include:

  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Avoid narcotic pain medications.
  • Avoid medications that make you sleepy.
  • Avoid driving until symptoms resolve.
  • Apply cold compresses to the scalp:
    • Wrap ice in a moist hand towel. Do not apply ice directly to the skin.
    • Apply for 20-30 minutes, every 1-2 hours, for the first few days.
  • Clean wounds thoroughly:
    • Use mild soap and water.
    • Gently dab the wound with hydrogen peroxide to remove clotted blood.
    • Do not scrub the wound.
    • Remove dirt or foreign material from the wound.
    • Dry the skin.
    • Apply an antibiotic ointment.
  • Eat a clear liquid diet for 24 hours.
  • Rest for 1-2 days. There is no need to try and keep the victim awake.
  • Perform neurological checks:
    • Every 1-2 hours for 24 hours
    • Make sure the person can be awakened
    • Make sure the person can walk
    • Make sure the person can speak normally
    • Make sure the person can move extremities normally
  • Acetaminophen for pain
  • Avoid aspirin.

Broken Skull Neuro Checks

In skull fracture, neuro checks should be performed once an hour, for the first 24 hours:

  • Make sure the person can be awakened
  • Make sure the person can walk
  • Make sure the person can speak normally
  • Make sure the person can move extremities normally

Seek medical care immediately for:

Broken Skull Warning Signs

Notify your doctor if you have skull fracture and any of the following:

Continue to Broken Skull Types

Last Updated: Jan 4, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Broken Skull References
  1. Bullock MR, Chesnut R, Ghajar J, Gordon D, Hartl R, Newell DW, Servadei F, Walters BC, Wilberger J; Surgical Management of Traumatic Brain Injury Author Group. Surgical management of depressed cranial fractures. Neurosurgery. 2006 Mar;58(3 Suppl):S56-60; discussion Si-iv. [16540744]
  2. Edwards P, Arango M, Balica L, et al. CRASH trial collaborators. Final results of MRC CRASH, a randomised placebo-controlled trial of intravenous corticosteroid in adults with head injury-outcomes at 6 months. Lancet. 2005 Jun 4-10;365(9475):1957-9. [15936423]
  3. Grappling with traumatic brain injury. Lancet. 2007 Dec 8;370(9603):1879. [18068492]
  4. Lee AC, Ou Y, Fong D. Depressed skull fractures: a pattern of abusive head injury in three older children. Child Abuse Negl. 2003 Nov;27(11):1323-9. [14637305]
  5. McKinley J. New challenges in assessing and managing concussion in sports. Am Fam Physician. 2007 Oct 1;76(7):948-9. [17956064]
  6. Ropper AH, Gorson KC. N Engl J Med. 2007 Jan 11;356(2):166-72. Review. No abstract available. Erratum in: N Engl J Med. 2007 Apr 26;356(17):1794. [17215534]
  7. Smits M, Dippel DW, de Haan GG, Dekker HM, Vos PE, Kool DR, Nederkoorn PJ, Hofman PA, Twijnstra A, Tanghe HL, Hunink MG. External validation of the Canadian CT Head Rule and the New Orleans Criteria for CT scanning in patients with minor head injury. JAMA. 2005 Sep 28;294(12):1519-25. [16189365]
  8. Tender GC, Awasthi D. Risk stratification in mild head injury patients: the head injury predictive index. J La State Med Soc. 2003 Nov-Dec;155(6):338-42. [14750754]
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