Posted by: jenni | 2010/10/29

lost taste and smell

hi, in 2007 my husband suffered a head trauma when he fell from a ladder. After the accident he had no sense of taste or smell. Afer a time he developed a sandy / smokey / metallic taste and smell ( he said it is hard to desribe) that was with him constantly. When there is a strong smell around, this unique smell becomes stronger, but he can''t differentiate because everything smells the same to varying degrees. Over the last 3 years, his taste has slowly improved, and is now almost as it used to be.
My question is : what is happening here, and will he ever be able to smell again? is there anything we can do which might help?
Thanking you .in advance for your anticipated reply

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Our expert says:
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Dear Jenni

It is possible that your husband suffered damage to the anterior skull base during his fall. The treating doctor should know the extent of the injury. Unfortunately the nerve responsible for your sense of smell runs in the front part of the brain, and exits the skull base via the cribiform plate (the thin bone that seperates your brain from your nose). These nerve fibres are very thin, and are easily damaged by head injuries. If the nerve fibres were only streched, they may recover over time, but if they were torn, the damage is permanent. Your sense of taste relies on your ablilty to smell, so if you loose smell, this will affect your ability to taste. There may also have been damage to the nerve for taste, but a neurologist must diagnose this.
To get an indication of the extent, your husband may benefit from a neurological examination, performed by a neurologist, to get an idea as to the nature of the damage. It seems unlikely that there will be much more improvement, as the head injury seems to have been rather severe.


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