Longitudinal versus transverse petrous temporal bone fracture

Dr Henry Knipe and Dr Subash Thapa et al.

Petrous temporal bone fractures are classically divided into longitudinal, transverse or mixed fracture patterns depending on the direction of fracture plane with respect to the long axis of the petrous temporal bone. Some features may aid in distinguishing them.                

Longitudinal petrous temporal bone fracture

  • most common of all petrous temporal bone fracture (70-90%)
  • fracture line is parallel to the long axis of petrous temporal bone
  • otic capsule is spared
  • ossicles are often involved resulting in conductive hearing loss
  • involvement of the tympanic membrane
  • facial nerve involvement (~25%)

Transverse petrous temporal bone fracture

  • less common temporal bone fracture (20-30%)
  • fracture line is perpendicular to the long axis of petrous temporal bone
  • otic capsule is often involved resulting in sensorineural hearing loss
  • ossicles and the tympanic membrane are usually spared
  • facial nerve involvement (~50%)
Fractures
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Article information

rID: 57064
Section: Gamuts
Tag: refs, cases
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Longitudinal vs transverse petrous temporal bone fracture

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: axis of longitudinal fracture
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  • Figure 2: axis of transverse fracture
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