Incidence of skull fractures in Olmsted County, Minnesota

E. L. Nelson, L. J. Melton, J. F. Annegers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Between 1935 and 1974, 3598 episodes of head trauma among Olmsted County, Minnesota, residents resulted in 1097 skull fractures. Of these, 53% were simple, 16% were depressed, 12% were compound, and 19% were basilar. The age- and sex-adjusted incidence of skull fractures was 44.3 per 100,000 person-years overall, was somewhat greater in the urban than in the rural areas of Olmsted County, and was relatively stable for the final 30 years of the study. Age-specific incidence rates were highest for the very young, and simple linear fractures were the predominant type of skull fracture in this age group and among the elderly. The male:female ratio of incidence rates varied from 2.1:1 to 4.5:1 depending on fracture type. Motor vehicle accidents accounted for 38% of the skull fractures and were a particularly important cause among young males. Falls accounted for 37% of the skull fractures and were the major cause of fractures in the elderly and pediatric age groups. The results of this population-based study may be helpful in formulating recommendations for the evaluation and management of head-injured patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)318-324
Number of pages7
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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