Expanding pneumocephalus due to craniofacial fractures
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Pneumocephalus (PNC) is the presence of air in the intracranial cavity. The most frequent cause is craniofacial trauma, though there are many etiologies, including surgical procedures. PNC with compression of the frontal lobes and widening of the interhemispheric space between the tips of the frontal lobes results in the characteristic radiological finding of the “Mount Fuji sign”.

A 57-year-old man presented to the A&E with loss of consciousness due to a motorcycle collision 9 h prior. He had a GCS of E4M6V5, and a head CT scan revealed minimal PNC forming in both hemispheres. After discharge, severe headaches and rhinorrhea developed. A second CT scan revealed a massive PNC. An operation was then performed via a bicoronal incision to drain the PNC and seal the cranial defect. A burr hole in the calvarium was created, and the cranial defect was closed using a pericranial rotational flap. Post-operation, the patient's headache and rhinorrhea decreased; neither symptom was present at 1-month post-operation. The wounds healed with minimal scarring, and the cosmetic outcome for the craniofacial fracture was acceptable.

Although the patient may at first present with a mild head injury, this can progress into something much more serious. PNC is difficult to diagnose clinically. Rarely, patients describe a splashing sound upon moving the head (termed bruit hydro-aerique), which can also be auscultated. A head CT scan is the gold standard in the diagnosis of PNC. Pericranial flaps are widely used for dural repair because they are easily accessible and have a lower rate of infection than artificial grafts on expanding PNC. Tension PNC may be slow-growing and increase intracranial pressure to high levels before clinical signs are present. The pericranial rotational flap technique is the best way to close a dura mater defect in cranial base fractures with tension PNC.