Supracondylar Fracture: A Commonly Misunderstood Injury
The supracondylar fracture (also called a “supraoccipital” or “superfractured”) is one of the most common types of skull fractures. The term refers to any type of skull fracture involving the frontal bone. These fractures are relatively rare, occurring in less than 1% of all head injuries. They may occur in athletes involved in contact sports such as football, hockey, soccer, boxing and wrestling; military personnel engaged in combat operations; and those working on aircrafts.
A supracondylar fracture occurs when the top of the brain is injured while it’s still inside the cranium. The impact of a blunt trauma to the head causes this injury. Other possible causes include being struck by a heavy object like a car or falling from great height.
Symptoms of a Supracondylar Fracture
There are two main symptoms associated with a supracondylar fracture: headache and loss of consciousness. When these symptoms first appear they may not be severe enough to cause concern, but over time they will become more noticeable. If left untreated, both headaches and coma can result from a supracondylar fracture.
Other less common symptoms of a supracondylar fracture include: vomiting, dizziness and blurred vision. While any blunt trauma to the head can cause these symptoms, a supracondylar fracture makes them more likely to occur.
Risk Factors for a Supracondylar Fracture
While this type of injury can occur in anybody who sustains a strong enough blow to the head, some people are more likely to experience it than others. Risk factors for a supracondylar injury include:
Aging: The risk of suffering a skull or brain injury increases as people age. This is especially true after middle age, when the brain begins to atrophy, losing some of its natural protection. Additionally, changes in brain chemistry and vascular problems can cause a person’s reactions to be slower, making them more susceptible to injury.
Alcohol and Drug Abuse: People who abuse alcohol and/or drugs are more likely to experience brain injuries due to the fact that they often engage in dangerous activities like driving under the influence or fighting.
Contact Sports: Athletes who engage in contact sports like football, soccer, rugby, hockey, boxing and wrestling face a greater risk of sustaining head injuries.
Sources & references used in this article:
Supracondylar fracture of the femur after total knee arthroplasty. by KD Merkel, EW Johnson Jr – JBJS, 1986 – journals.lww.com
Supracondylar fracture of the femur following prosthetic knee arthroplasty by RW Culp, RG Schmidt, G Hanks, A Mak… – Clinical Orthopaedics …, 1987 – journals.lww.com
Supracondylar fracture of the adult femur: a study of one hundred and ten cases by II CHARLES S NEER, SA Grantham, ML SHELTON – JBJS, 1967 – journals.lww.com
The results of treatment of supracondylar fracture above total knee arthroplasty by MP Figgie, VM Goldberg, HE Figgie III… – The Journal of arthroplasty, 1990 – Elsevier