Transverse temporal bone fractures

Last revised by Mostafa Elfeky on 28 Apr 2020

Transverse temporal bone fractures are oriented perpendicular to the long axis of the petrous temporal bone, with the line of force running roughly anterior to posterior. Although more current classifications of the extent of temporal bone fractures focus on the integrity of the otic capsule rather than the fracture orientation, description of fractures in terms of longitudinal or transverse or mixed orientation is still common and useful in conveying the fracture anatomy. 


Transverse temporal bone fractures are less common than longitudinal fracture and account for 20-30% of temporal bone fractures.



Transverse fractures are usually associated with blows to the frontal bone or occipital bone. These fractures normally cross the fallopian canal (of the facial nerve) and otic capsule.


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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: axis of transverse fracture
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  • Case 1
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  • Case 2: with fracture dislocation of the ossicles
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  • Case 3
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