Objective The aim of this study was to develop and test the utility of a novel systematic protocol to analyze CT images of patients with trauma in the anterior cranial base and upper midface. Material and Methods The radiological data and primary reports of 27 consecutive patients with a frontal skull base fracture treated in two tertiary care hospitals from 2007 to 2011 were scrutinized. A novel algorithm for systematic image reviewing was used to assess the CT images and the findings were compared with the primary radiological reports. Results The systematic review detected a substantial number of fractures and defects in anatomical structures that had not been systematically reported in the primary, on-call reports. Anterior skull base fracture was not initially reported in 32% of the patients; however, the algorithm detected this in 93% of them. The corresponding rates for fracture through cribriform plate were 28% and 72% and for fracture through the sella or hypophyseal area 22% and 78%. There were two fractures of the clivus and these were initially missed. Conclusions Despite the failure to identify these fractures radiologically in the primary setting, all patients were still considered to have received appropriate treatment, but, the use of an image-reviewing algorithm will enhance the specificity of CT in the diagnosis of frontobasilar fractures.
- Computed tomography
- Maxillofacial surgery