A skull fracture is a break in the bone surrounding the brain. While skull fractures range in severity, they require swift medical attention after an accident because they could cause or contribute to a traumatic brain injury.
However, it is not always easy to tell if someone may have a skull fracture. Many fractures occur without a break in the skin, making them closed fractures. Furthermore, symptoms can sometimes take hours or even days to show up. The following are some of the most distinctive signs of skull fracture.
According to Healthline, “raccoon eyes” is a colloquial name given to a pattern of bruising around the eyes often present with a skull fracture. The scientific name for it is periorbital ecchymosis. It occurs because of bleeding from the skull pooling in the open area in the front of the face. It can extend to the cheeks, forehead or temples or remain localized to the eye region. The bruises can appear black, blue, purple or red in color, and the pattern resembles the fur coloration around the eyes of a raccoon. The bruising is not painful or tender.
Battle’s sign is another distinctive pattern of bruising that can occur because of a skull fracture. According to Medline Plus, Battle’s sign occurs behind the ear. For this reason, its scientific name is retroauricular ecchymosis. Battle’s sign may not be as obvious as raccoon eyes because a person’s hair can hide the bruising. Bleeding from a fractured skull can also cause bloody discharge from the ear itself.
A skull fracture is not the only cause of facial ecchymosis. However, either raccoon eyes or Battle’s sign should receive immediate evaluation because it indicates a serious injury.