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J Neurosurg. 2010 Jan;112(1):186-8. doi: 10.3171/2008.8.JNS08241.

William Henry Battle and Battle's sign: mastoid ecchymosis as an indicator of basilar skull fracture.

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  • 1Division of Neurosurgery, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Alabama, USA.


William Henry Battle (1855-1936) practiced medicine in England > 1 century ago and is primarily remembered for his description of ecchymosis over the mastoid, which indicates fracture of the skull base. Although Mr. Battle made many contributions to medicine, almost nothing exists in the literature regarding his life and findings, especially in regard to head injury. The following is a review of Battle's background and his contributions to medicine, specifically his observations associated with basilar skull fractures.

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