To study the prevalence and patterns of contrecoup injury in traumatic temporal bone fracture cases.
A prospective, cohort study was undertaken of all patients with traumatic head injury admitted to a tertiary referral hospital in Malaysia within an 18-month period. High resolution computed tomography scans of the brain and skull base were performed in indicated cases, based on clinical findings and Glasgow coma score. Patients with a one-sided temporal bone fracture were selected and subsequent magnetic resonance imaging performed in all cases. Contrecoup injury incidence, type, severity and outcome were recorded.
Of 1579 head injury cases, 81 (5.1 per cent) met the inclusion criteria and were enrolled in the study. Temporal bone fractures were significantly associated with intracranial injuries (p < 0.001). The incidence of a contrecoup injury in cases with temporal bone fracture was 13.6 per cent. Contrecoup injury was significantly associated with petrous temporal bone fracture (p < 0.01). The commonest contrecoup injury was cerebral contusion, followed by extradural haematoma and subdural haematoma.
Contrecoup injury is not uncommon in cases of temporal bone fracture, and is significantly associated with petrous temporal bone fracture.