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J Forensic Sci. 2000 Mar;45(2):483-7.

Keyhole defect production in tubular bone.

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Department of Pathology, Regional Forensic Center, University of Tennessee, Memphis 38104, USA.


Fracture characteristics, reported primarily for the cranium, are valuable indicators of bullet direction. A bullet striking the vault tangentially produces an irregular opening, termed a "keyhole defect." with the circular portion of the defect being the initial point of impact. Identifying this feature in tubular bone (long bone) can also demonstrate bullet direction and the position of the bone at the time of the shooting. This case study involving a tangential shot (i.e., a keyhole fracture) to the humerus demonstrates some of the same fracture mechanics seen in the cranium.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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