Post-mortem orthopantomography – an aid in screening for identification purposes
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Ante-mortem orthopantomograms may be of great value in the identification of human remains. This x-ray technique provides an overall view of the teeth and jaws and thus of numerous individual structural characteristics within a short time. Standardised post-mortem orthopantomography has previously not been feasible in the forensic practice. The present study shows how orthopantomography can be applied to identification procedures. The reproduction of ante-mortem x-ray conditions is implemented here in the production of post-mortem x-rays, using a purpose-designed radiographic tripod. For the first time, account is taken not only of the size and structure but also of the nature of the soft tissue covering of exhibits. For post-mortem preparation of these radiographs, appropriate positioning aids, a spinal column substitute and a soft tissue filter were constructed. Individual macerated jaws as well as the complete cranium can now be positioned correctly in the upright orthopantomograph (OPG). The method presented expands the spectrum of forensic radiology for the individual case and in our opinion also offers a reliable aid for victim identification in the wake of mass disasters, aircraft crashes and terrorist attacks, where a large number of bodies have to be identified under great pressure.
KeywordsSoft Tissue Individual Case Identification Procedure Spinal Column Terrorist Attack
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