Surgical and Radiologic Anatomy

, Volume 40, Issue 8, pp 967–975 | Cite as

Friar Leopold Mandic (1866–1942): the computed tomography of the body of a saint

  • Veronica Macchi
  • Edgardo Enrico Edoardo Picardi
  • Andrea Porzionato
  • Aldo Morra
  • Lineo Tabarin
  • Flaviano Gusella
  • Bruno Grignon
  • Raffaele De CaroEmail author
Anatomic Variations



In forensic clinical anatomy computed tomography (CT) is used in post-mortem radiological investigation as an objective nondestructive documentation of the body surface and of the interior of the body. This technique is applied also in paleopathology, in particular in mummy studies, with the aim of providing a permanent record of the mummy’s features, investigating the embalming procedure employed and analyzing the extent of the preservation in detail.


For the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, the mortal remains of Saint Leopold Mandic and Saint Pio da Pietralcina, as examples of Mercy known by everyone, have been brought to Rome in February 2016. During the survey that preceded the preparation for transport to Rome, a whole-body CT was performed on the mummified corpse of Leopold Mandic, Capuchin Saint of Padova, Italy.


The CT examination demonstrated the presence of osteoarthritis at the level of the vertebral column, of the left knee and of the left hand. Moreover, CT showed the preservation of skeleton and partial preservation of the some viscera, such as remnants of the brain, heart, oesophagus, urinary bladder, plexuses and spinal nerves, ear ossicles, major arterial vessels (aorta and carotid arteries). It is to emphasize the fact that Saint Leopold was not subjected before the CT to any conservative treatment.


Computed tomography demonstrated to be a non-destructive method to investigate Saint Leopold, in order to maintain the integrity of the body and to acquire data on his pathologies and on his preservation. CT allows not only the acquisition of sectional images but also, thanks to dedicated software, the post-processing and reconstruction of three-dimensional models, that can be used also for public displays.


Computed tomography Saint Mummies Paleoradiology Paleopathology Forensic clinical anatomy 



The authors are grateful to Dr. Gloria Sarasin for her skillful technical assistance.

Author contributions

VM: Project and protocol development, data collection and analysis, manuscript writing. EEEP: Data analysis, manuscript writing. AP: Project development, data analysis, manuscript writing. AM: Data collection and analysis. LT: Project development. FG: Project development. BG: Data analysis and manuscript editing. RC: Project and protocol development, data collection and analysis, manuscript writing and editing.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors indicate no potential conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag France SAS, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Neuroscience, Institute of Human AnatomyUniversity of PadovaPadovaItaly
  2. 2.Section of RadiologyEuganea Medica CenterPadovaItaly
  3. 3.Church of San Leopoldo MandicPadovaItaly
  4. 4.Department of Anatomy and Guilloz ImagingCHU NancyNancyFrance

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