Visualization and documentation of perimortem traits in long bone fractures using computed tomography

Sarah Scheirs, Mònica Cos, Hannah McGlynn, Marisa Ortega-Sánchez, Assumpció Malgosa, Ignasi Galtés*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Perimortem fracture patterns in long bones, defined in previous publications, include layered breakage, bone scales, crushed margins, flakes with flake defect, wave lines, and plastic deformation. The traits help professionals during trauma analysis to differentiate peri- from post-mortem fractures. This study will therefore investigate whether these traits can be recorded with Computed Tomography (CT) as the non-invasive 3D imaging technique is becoming more popular in forensic science. CT scans of macerated bone samples (n = 15; humerus: n = 1; ulna: n = 1; radius: n = 1; femur: n = 12) were investigated using multi-planar reconstructions (MPRs) and volume renderings. Tension lines and severe plastic deformation were visible on the individual multi-planar reconstructions (MPRs) and the 3D models. Additionally, layered breakage and flake defects were also clearly distinguishable on the volume renderings. Based on the results, CT imaging may be a useful and fast tool to document, visualize, and analyze findings of blunt force trauma.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)281-286
Number of pages6
JournalForensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020


  • 3D bone reconstruction
  • Autopsy
  • Computed tomography
  • CT scan
  • Perimortem traits
  • Post-mortem examination


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