Minier, M., Maret, D., Dedouit, F. et al. Int J Legal Med (2014) 128: 177. doi:10.1007/s00414-013-0890-z
Evaluation of fetal age is an essential element in many fields such as anthropology, odontology, paleopathology, and forensic sciences. This study examines the correlation between fetal age, femoral diaphyseal length (considered as the gold standard), and deciduous tooth germs of fetuses aged 22 to 40 weeks amenorrhea (WA) based on computed tomography (MSCT) reconstructions. Qualitative and quantitative studies of femoral and deciduous tooth germ lengths were performed on 81 fetuses (39 females and 42 males). R software was used for statistical analyses. Intra-observer and inter-observer variabilities and the interclass correlation coefficient (ICC) were calculated. Correlation coefficients (R2) and linear regression equations were calculated. Intra- and inter-observer variabilities were very satisfactory (intra-observer ICC ≥ 0.96, inter-observer ICC ≥ 0.95). Femoral length was significantly correlated with age (R2 = 0.9). The correlation coefficient between age and height, width, and dental volume was R2 ≥ 0.73. Tooth germs were good indicators of fetal age. Our method appears to be reliable and reproducible, and the results of this study agreed with those of the literature. The dental formula provided a precise estimation of fetal age between 25 and 32 WA. Tooth germs were reliable indicators of fetal age, and multislice computed tomography was shown to be an innovative and reliable technology for this purpose.