Diastatic Skull Fracture: Causes and Treatments

The brains of infants and children are constantly growing and changing. Cranial sutures, or joints consisting of fibrous tissue, allow the skull to remain adaptive to these continual growth patterns while holding the skull together. Fractures, known as diastatic skull fractures, can occur in these joints, leading to the widening or splitting of the cranial sutures.

Diastatic skull fractures are most common in younger children to newborns when the skull is still malleable. Various causes may lead to diastatic skull fractures in children, resulting in debilitating injuries in severe circumstances. Our Portland birth injury attorney may be able to help if your child suffered preventable harm from a diastatic skull fracture. We also offer the following resources if you are unsure how to access the help you need.

Causes of Diastatic Skull Fracture

Infants and children are not immune to the same devastating injuries as adults. However, differences in their skull structures can lead to injuries that adults may not be as susceptible to. The following incidents may lead to a diastatic skull fracture.

Birth Injury

Because the head of a newborn exits the birth canal first, it is most susceptible to birth injury. The most common birth trauma is a head injury resulting from force when assistance is needed for difficult deliveries during childbirth. Diastatic skull fractures may occur during instrument-assisted deliveries when forceps or vacuum extraction is used to assist in the removal of an infant from the birth canal.

Diastatic skull fracture resulting from birth injury may result in seizures, bleeding, and hydrocephalus. Recognizing these injuries can be challenging because of the infant’s age. Signs of injury may include:

  • Lethargy
  • Irritability
  • Bradycardia, or slow heartbeat
  • Apnea
  • Bulging fontanelle
  • Sutural Diastasis

Medical malpractice continues to be a growing concern in the United States. Estimates from studies suggest that the annual cost of liabilities and compensations owed by healthcare organizations for medical malpractice is in the billions of dollars annually.

Motor Vehicle Accidents

Properly used car seat restraints protect during an automobile accident. However, eliminating the chance of injury is not possible. Injury sustained by children during car accidents may lead to more severe injury than in adults, resulting in lasting neuropsychological issues. Continual monitoring is necessary to detect the impacts of trauma for many years. Detecting diastatic skull fractures may include the use of:

  • X-Ray
  • MRI
  • CT scan

Determining the damages from an automobile accident can be challenging, particularly when infants and young children are involved. A comprehensive assessment is vital when ongoing care is required due to severe diastatic skull fractures.

Pedestrian accidents

Pedestrians are at the most significant risk of injury than any users of Portland’s transportation system, according to the City of Portland. A five-year span demonstrated that 40% of traffic-related deaths in Portland were pedestrians. Signs of diastatic skull fracture in a pedestrian or automobile accident may include:

  • A bump rising on the head
  • Bleeding or clear fluid coming from the ears, eyes, or nose
  • Bruising or swelling
  • Vomiting

Diastatic skull fracture often results when the skull impacts a broad surface, such as the exterior of an automobile, pavement, sidewalk, or other structure. Infants and young children of Oregon pedestrians may face an increased risk of diastatic skull fracture when an accident occurs.

Treatment for Diastatic Skull Fracture

When the potential for diastatic skull fractures exists, it is vital to monitor the health of an infant or child for signs of injury. One of the diagnostic imaging techniques above may be used to pinpoint a skull fracture. Treatment is dependent upon the severity of the injury and may include the following:

  • Monitoring for increasing pressure in the skull
  • Rest with the head elevated
  • Medication for pain or discomfort
  • Draining of excessive fluid or blood
  • Surgery to move the skull bones back into place
  • Seizure medications

Always seek medical treatment when there is the potential for head injury. Continuing any treatment protocol is essential to avoid jeopardizing a pedestrian accident injury claim.

Recovery From a Skull Fracture

The bones comprising the skull are vital to protecting the brain. When they are compromised by fracture, the risk of increased brain injury may occur. While children heal faster than adults from injury, recovery from diastatic skull fracture may take weeks to months for complete healing.

When diastatic skull fractures lead to traumatic brain injury, a total recovery may be unattainable. As the knowledge of traumatic brain injury (TBI) grows, it is more apparent that children suffering traumatic brain injury may suffer from:

  • Behavioral challenges in developing social skills or impulse control
  • Academic challenges
  • Cognitive effects
  • Psychological effects

When to Notify a Doctor Following a Diagnosis of Diastatic Skull Fracture

A physician may order that a child be cared for at home following a diastatic skull fracture, depending on the severity. Changes in an infant or child’s behavior should be addressed by medical professionals immediately. Contact the child’s physician or seek emergency medical treatment when the following symptoms are observed after a child has returned home:

  • Vomiting occurs more than twice
  • A lack of appetite or thirst occurs
  • Unusual fussiness
  • Signs of confusion
  • Difficulty awakening
  • Clumsiness or unsteadiness
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Weakness in the arms and legs

Gauging ongoing injuries to an infant can be challenging. Any differences in sleeping patterns, appetite, or unusual fussiness and crying should be addressed.

Assistance for Treating Diastatic Skull Fractures in Oregon

Treating diastatic skull fractures can be costly. Damages may be available when these injuries result from negligence due to medical care, a motor vehicle accident, or another type of personal injury. Seeking immediate medical treatment is always recommended .

Following a course of treatment prescribed by a care team allows for the documentation of diastatic skull fractures to understand the extent of the injuries and the future need for medical care. Working with an Oregon personal injury attorney will help you discover the legal options for seeking compensation.

Contact Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC when you have questions concerning diastatic skull fracture. Our team of experienced Portland medical malpractice attorneys have a combined 100+ years of experience fighting for clients who are injured due to negligence. A free case evaluation allows us to determine how we can help you.