Nail through skull into brain

Case contributed by Frank Gaillard
Diagnosis certain


Suicide attempt with nail gun.

Patient Data

Age: 30 years
Gender: Male

The nail enters the right squamous temporal bone, just posterior to the sphenosquamous suture. No associated skull fracture. It passes through the right temporal and inferior right frontal lobes, with the tip lying in the midline of the third ventricle. There is beam hardening artefact around the nail. With that limitation, no acute intracranial hemorrhage. No pneumocephalus. No shift in midline structures. The ventricles and CSF spaces are normal.

CT Angiogram: The nail passes just above and anterior to the M2 branch of the right MCA. No arterial injury identified, within the limits of this study. The remainder of the circle of Willis, the carotid arteries, and the vertebral arteries opacify normally. 

Case Discussion

Despite enormous improvements in reducing artefact form implanted metal (such as aneurysm clips or orthopedic plates and screws) non-medical steel still causes significant image degradation making the assessment of adjacent tissues difficult. In this instance, the CTA is nonetheless able to exclude adjacent large vessel injury. 

This individual (images obtained from another institution many many months ago) had the nail removed and made a good clinical recovery. 

How to use cases

You can use Radiopaedia cases in a variety of ways to help you learn and teach.

Creating your own cases is easy.

Updating… Please wait.

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

 Thank you for updating your details.