Brain injuries caused by spherical bolts

Jonathan Roth, Ami Mayo, Hanoch Elran, Nissim Razon, Yoram Kluger

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Object. Metallic particles contained in antihuman bombs increase the number of fatalities. The ballistics of these particles depends on the explosive that is used, the distance from the explosion, the shape of the particle projected, and the biomechanics of the injured tissue. The authors present their experience with penetrating spherical bolt injuries to the brain. Methods. The authors retrospectively reviewed clinical and radiological data obtained in eight patients with penetrating spherical bolt injuries to the cranium: four had Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) scores less than 8 (three died, one from an unrelated injury) and four had a GCS score of 15 (all survived). Two of the latter patients suffered unique anatomical injuries attributed to the distinctive ballistics of spherical bolts: in one patient the bolt penetrated the cavernous sinus causing minimal cranial nerve injury, and in the other patient the bolt lodged in the fourth ventricle causing acute hydrocephalus without other neurological deficits. Conclusions. Penetrating spherical bolts to the brain may be lethal. Nevertheless, they have unique ballistics that cause highly delineated anatomical damage and minor neurological deficits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)864-869
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2005


  • Ballistics
  • Penetrating brain injury
  • Spherical bolt


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