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J Forensic Sci. 2003 Nov;48(6):1336-42.

Forensic microradiology: micro-computed tomography (Micro-CT) and analysis of patterned injuries inside of bone.

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Institute of Forensic Medicine, University of Berne, Switzerland.


When a knife is stabbed in bone, it leaves an impression in the bone. The characteristics (shape, size, etc.) may indicate the type of tool used to produce the patterned injury in bone. Until now it has been impossible in forensic sciences to document such damage precisely and non-destructively. Micro-computed tomography (Micro-CT) offers an opportunity to analyze patterned injuries of tool marks made in bone. Using high-resolution Micro-CT and computer software, detailed analysis of three-dimensional (3D) architecture has recently become feasible and allows microstructural 3D bone information to be collected. With adequate viewing software, data from 2D slice of an arbitrary plane can be extracted from 3D datasets. Using such software as a "digital virtual knife," the examiner can interactively section and analyze the 3D sample. Analysis of the bone injury revealed that Micro-CT provides an opportunity to correlate a bone injury to an injury-causing instrument. Even broken knife tips can be graphically and non-destructively assigned to a suspect weapon.

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