Forensic Science, Medicine and Pathology

, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 450–459 | Cite as

Sex determination with morphological characteristics of the skull by using 3D modeling techniques in computerized tomography

  • Ayse Kurtulus DereliEmail author
  • Volkan Zeybek
  • Ergin Sagtas
  • Hande Senol
  • Hakan Abdullah Ozgul
  • Kemalettin Acar
Original Article


Sex determination is a major area of investigation in forensic anthropology. As technology has advanced, imaging methods such as computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging are being investigated as alternatives to conventional forensic anthropological research techniques. This study aimed to investigate the suitability of three-dimensional (3D) modeling of volumetric cranial computed tomography (CCT) images for sex estimation from skull morphology. In this study, CCT angiography images from the Department of Radiology 2017 archives were used retrospectively, and 3D images were obtained after the reconstruction of 85 cases of CCT images. The sex-dependent morphological characteristics of the skull were evaluated by three blinded observers and scored on a scale of 1–5 points according to the “Standards for Data Collection from Human Skeletal Remains”. The accurate sex estimation rates of the first, second and third observers were 91.8, 92.9 and 92.9%, respectively. The rate of accurate sex estimation for males was 98–100%, while this rate varied between 83.3–86.1% for females. Consistency in sex estimation between the three observers was 83.5%, with a Kappa value of 0.763 (z = 12.2; p = 0.0001*). The glabella was the most effective morphological trait used to estimate sex. The results of this study show that sex can be estimated from morphological features in volume-rendered CCT 3D images. Thus, sex can be estimated by digital images without the need for maceration processes, and the transfer of digital data in place of physical material will make it possible to gain expert opinions in forensic anthropology.


Forensic medicine Anthropology Buikstra 3D modeling 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This study was initiated following the granting of approval by the Non-interventional Clinical Trials Ethics Committee. All procedures performed in studies were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Medicine, Department of Forensic MedicinePamukkale UniversityDenizliTurkey
  2. 2.Faculty of Medicine, Department of RadiologyPamukkale UniversityDenizliTurkey
  3. 3.Faculty of Medicine, Department of BiostatisticsPamukkale UniversityDenizliTurkey

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