, Volume 128, Issue 4, pp 667-673
Date: 02 May 2014

Age estimation by quantitative features of pubic symphysis using multidetector computed tomography

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Macroscopic assessment of the pubic symphysis is commonly used for age estimation because its surface changes over time. However, postmortem computed tomography (PMCT), a method several forensic medical departments and institutes have begun to adopt, has the potential to simplify the information gathering process from the pelvic bone without requiring soft tissue removal. Some studies have previously evaluated the use of three-dimensional images of the pubic symphysis, but because of variance in the graphics processing among image analysis software packages, certain differences have been observed between these studies. Therefore, in this study, the PMCT findings of 199 subjects of known age and sex were retrospectively reviewed to examine the feasibility of age estimation using planar images of the pubic bones and soft tissue. The coronal and axial sectional images were observed at the center of the symphyseal surface, and the pubic bone length and thickness of the connective tissue of the pubic symphysis were measured at each slice. Our results revealed a significant positive correlation between the length of the pubic bone of the coronal section and age, suggesting that the use of a cutoff value for pubic bone length might be feasible for age estimations. In addition, the thickness of the connective tissue tended to narrow over time. Although the prediction interval range of planar images obtained by PMCT was major and is not usable in practice at this moment, it may still be a useful tool if used in conjunction with other findings obtained by PMCT.