Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 106–107 | Cite as

The symmetry of self mutilation and the chess board pattern

  • Roger W. ByardEmail author
  • Karen J. Heath
  • Michael Tsokos
Images in Forensics

The assessment of injury patterns in forensic practice sometimes requires separation of self inflicted injuries from those that have been inflicted by another, as the medicolegal significance of each is entirely different. Certain repetitive features are found in self inflicted injuries that may assist in identifying these cases. Non-lethal self inflicted injuries are usually incised, and are located in areas of the body that are accessible. Common areas include the forearms, anterior thighs, forehead, cheeks, upper chest and abdomen [1]. The lesions tend to occur on the opposite side to the dominant hand and are not found in sensitive areas such as the eyelids, genitalia or nipples, unless there is a serious underlying psychiatric disturbance. Typically the clothing has been carefully lifted before the wounds are inflicted in contrast to assaults where stab and slash wounds often cut through overlying fabric [2, 3].

The wounds also tend to have characteristic pathological features,...


Teenage Girl Similar Lesion Incised Wound Anterior Thigh Forensic Practice 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roger W. Byard
    • 1
    Email author
  • Karen J. Heath
    • 2
  • Michael Tsokos
    • 3
  1. 1.Discipline of Anatomy and Pathology, Level 3 Medical School North BuildingThe University of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.Forensic Science SAAdelaideAustralia
  3. 3.Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic SciencesCharité UniversityBerlinGermany

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