Skull fractures in pediatric patients on computerized tomogram: comparison between routing bone window images and 3D volume-rendered images

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Radiology

Publication Date


Document Type



Pediatrics | Radiology


Skull fracture is a common finding following head trauma. It has a prognostic significance and its presence points to severe trauma. Additionally, there is a greater possibility of detecting associated small underlying extra-axial hematomas and subtle injuries to the brain parenchyma. In pediatric patients, the presence of multiple open sutures often makes fracture evaluation challenging. In our experience, 3D volume (3DV)-rendered CT images complement routine axial bone window (RBW) images in detection and characterization of fractures. This is a multi-reader, multi-case, paired retrospective study to compare the sensitivity and specificity of RBW and 3DV images in detection of calvarial fractures in pediatric patients. A total of 60 cases (22 with fractures and 38 without) were analyzed. Two experienced neuroradiologists and a radiology trainee were the readers of the study. For all readers, the sensitivity was not statistically different between the RBW and the 3DV interpretations. For each reader, there was a statistically significant difference in the interpretation times between the RBW and the 3DV viewing formats. A greater number of sutural diastasis was identified on 3DV. We propose that 3DV images should be part of routine head trauma imaging, especially in the pediatric age group. It requires minimal post-processing time and no additional radiation. Furthermore, 3DV images help in reducing the interpretation time and also enhance the ability of the radiologist to characterize the calvarial fractures.


Skull fracture, CT, 3D volume rendered imaging

DOI of Published Version



Emerg Radiol. 2015 Feb 20. Link to article on publisher's site.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Emergency radiology

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Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID