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Childs Nerv Syst. 2010 Mar;26(3):377-84. doi: 10.1007/s00381-009-0969-5. Epub 2009 Aug 7.

Intrauterine head stab wound injury resulting in a growing skull fracture: a case report and literature review.

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Pediatric Neurosurgery Unit, Department of Neurosurgery, Ospedale Civile Maggiore, Piazzale A. Stefani 1, 37126, Verona, Italy.



Penetrating injuries of the gravid uterus are rare complications of pregnancy with gunshot wounds most common than stab wounds. Fetal head injury is an unusual sequela of these penetrating traumas.


We describe the case of a 20-year-old pregnant woman stabbed at the lower abdomen at 30th weeks of gestation. She was nonsurgically managed by serial examination and continuous fetal monitoring.


Spontaneous vaginal delivery occurred at term with good maternal and fetal outcome. The newborn examination revealed a right temporal swelling interpreted as a subcutaneous hemangioma. At 2 years and 6 months of life, the child was led to our attention with a pulsating bulge in the right temporal region. Clinical examination and imaging were indicative of a typical growing skull fracture. The child underwent neurosurgical procedure for repairing of the dural tear and bone defect according to the senior author's personal technique, described in details, with a good neurological and esthetic outcome.


Thirty-two cases of stab wounds to the pregnant uterus have been reported to date in medical literature with two cases of fetal head injury.Growing skull fractures are rare complications of head injury and only one case has been described in the perinatal period following blunt trauma to the mother's abdomen 2-3 weeks before birth.

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