LOSS OF THE sense of smell after head injury is a fairly frequent occurrence and is likely to become more common with increasing automobile traffic. Otolaryngologists should be aware of this entity, since the increasing legal implications of these accidents require a clear-cut and complete evaluation of nasal airway and function. The term posttraumatic anosmia in this paper is one applied to a loss of the sense of smell following head injuries not directly involving the nose or its olfactory epithelium. It usually involves damage to the olfactory nerve fibers in the area above the cribriform plate due to brain acceleration and deceleration.
Posttraumatic anosmia has been estimated to be present in 3% to 5%1 of all head injuries. In those patients having a diagnosis of cerebral contusion, it may rise to 15% to 20%.2 The following case reports illustrate some variations in injuries, symptoms, and findings.
HAGAN PJ. Posttraumatic Anosmia. Arch Otolaryngol. 1967;85(1):85–89. doi:10.1001/archotol.1967.00760040087017
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