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Acta Neurochir (Wien). 1994;129(1-2):11-4.

Role of skull radiography in the initial evaluation of minor head injury: a retrospective study.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, King Khalid University Hospital, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


The use of skull radiography in the initial evaluation of minor head injured patients is controversial. In an attempt to evaluate its benefits, a retrospective study of 566 cases subjected to skull radiography following close minor head trauma (Glasgow Coma Scale 13-15), is presented. A skull fracture (linear vault, depressed or base of skull) was present in 64 (11%) cases. Only three (5%) who were found to have a skull fracture on skull radiography developed an intracranial injury which required surgery. Intracranial injuries developed in 19 (3%) cases and were followed by surgery in six (32%). All, except for one case, had a decreased level of consciousness and a Glasgow Coma Scale less than 15, few had focal neurological deficits. Management had not been altered by the results of skull radiography in any of the cases. We concluded that skull radiographs are unnecessary for the decision process in closed minor head injury because management decisions are based primarily on a careful neurological examination. When intracranial injuries are a concern, a CT scan should be obtained.

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