Ping pong skull fracture

Ping pong skull fracture or pond skull fracture refers to a depressed skull fracture of the infant skull caused by inner buckling of the calvarium. It is seen in newborns because of the soft and resilient nature of their bones (like greenstick fractures of long bones) and the fracture line is not visualised radiologically.

A shallow trench is noted on the surface of the skull, and the periosteum and dura are intact. Usually, it is not associated with significant neurological injury. 

It could occur both as a birth trauma or in postnatal blunt traumas. In the former, it usually results from the pressure caused by mother's pelvic bones against the soft skull during labour. Forceps used during delivery could also be a cause. 

May be seen as a smooth inward indentation of the calvarium. A distinct fracture line is not seen.

It can be either treated conservatively or surgically, depending on the severity of depression.

Spontaneous elevation has been described in ping pong fractures that occurred after birth trauma; however, it is extremely rare in infants after head trauma 4.

The fracture is called a 'ping pong' fracture because it resembles a ping pong ball that has been indented inwards with a finger.

Imaging differential considerations include

Share article

Article information

rID: 26777
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Pond fracture
  • Ping pong fracture
  • Ping pong fracture of skull
  • Pond fracture of the skull
  • Pond fractures
  • Ping pong fractures
  • Neonatal depressed skull fracture
  • Neonatal depressed skull fractures

Support Radiopaedia and see fewer ads

Cases and figures

  • Drag
    Case 1
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Drag
    Case 1
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Drag
    Case 2
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Drag
    Case 3
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Updating… Please wait.
    Loadinganimation

    Alert accept

    Error Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

    Alert accept Thank you for updating your details.