International Journal of Legal Medicine

, Volume 129, Issue 1, pp 195–201 | Cite as

Mandibular ramus length as an indicator of chronological age and sex

  • Fernando Toledo de Oliveira
  • Mariana Quirino Silveira Soares
  • Viviane Almeida Sarmento
  • Cassia Maria Fischer Rubira
  • José Roberto Pereira Lauris
  • Izabel Regina Fischer Rubira-BullenEmail author
Original Article


Age and sex estimation is crucial in forensic investigations, whether in legal situations that involve living people or to identify mortal remains. The aim of this study was to establish reference values in a Brazilian population to estimate age and sex by measuring the length of the mandibular ramus on lateral cephalometric radiographs, and to determine the probability that an individual being is 18 years or older, based on the results that were obtained. Two hundred and eighteen scanned lateral cephalograms of individuals between 6 and 20 years of age (101 males and 117 females) were measured with reference to mandibular ramus length (the distance between Condylion superior (Cs) and Gonion (Go)) using ImageJ 1.41 software (NIH, Bethesda, MA, USA). The results showed that sexual dimorphism was not observed until 16 years and, based on the ramus length measurements in this sample, it is possible to predict sex with an accuracy of only 54 %. There was a positive correlation between age and ramus length (r = 0.90; p < 0.001). From the linear regression analysis, one formula was derived; therefore, it was possible to calculate the individual’s age, given his or her ramus length. The results showed that if an individual’s ramus length is 7.0 cm or more, then there is an 81.25 % chance that the individual is 18 years old or older. In conclusion, the mandibular ramus length was not effective in discriminating sex. Mandibular length is strongly related to chronological age and can be used to predict whether an individual is 18 years or older with high degree of expected accuracy.


Cephalometry Radiography Bone age measurement Forensic science Sex determination by skeleton 


Ethical standards

We declare that the experiments done in this manuscript comply with the current laws of Brazil.

Conflict of interest

We declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fernando Toledo de Oliveira
    • 1
  • Mariana Quirino Silveira Soares
    • 1
  • Viviane Almeida Sarmento
    • 2
  • Cassia Maria Fischer Rubira
    • 1
  • José Roberto Pereira Lauris
    • 1
  • Izabel Regina Fischer Rubira-Bullen
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.University of São PauloBauruBrazil
  2. 2.Federal University of BahiaSalvadorBrazil

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