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Hair Beads Spurring Head Trauma in Kids
Date:11/26/2008

And hard plastic versions often aren't visible on CT scans, experts note,,,,

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Although head trauma is a common injury seen in young children, U.S. doctors report on two recent cases of skull fracture with a surprising cause -- hair beads.

What's worse, because the beads were translucent, they weren't readily apparent on diagnostic CT scans, the physicians say.

Study senior author Dr. Richard Anderson, a neurosurgeon at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City, said these injuries aren't common by any means.

"These two cases occurred over the last two or three years. Hair beads are really only going to be a problem if [children] fall, like off a bunk bed, and fall on top of the bead," he said.

But, Anderson added, "since there are a million different types of hair accessories, why wear something that poses a risk?" Soft hair accessories might be a better choice, he advised.

Anderson and his colleagues reported their findings in the December issue of the Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics.

The beads involved in these cases are the translucent type found on the ends of ponytail holders. Often, there is a bead at each end, and they're twisted together to hold the hair back. Each bead was more than 1 centimeter in diameter, or less than half an inch.

The first case involved a 4-year-old girl who fell from about four feet high and hit her head on the wooden leg of a bunk bed. The girl appeared fine, except for a head wound. She never lost consciousness and her neurological exam was fine. Emergency room doctors closed the wound with medical staples.

However, doctors could feel a defect in her skull, and a CT scan of her head showed a skull fracture with fragments. The doctors also saw what looked like a pocket of air trapped in the injured area. When neurosurgeons operated to remove the l
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