Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine vol:20 issue:4 pages:248-254
Virtual autopsy is a medical imaging technique, using full body computed tomography (CT), allowing for a noninvasive and permanent observation of all body parts. For dental identification clinically and radiologically observed ante-mortem (AM) and post-mortem (PM) oral identifiers are compared. The study aimed to verify if a PM dental charting can be performed on virtual reconstructions of full-body CT's using the Interpol dental codes. A sample of 103 PM full-body CT's was collected from the forensic autopsy files of the department of forensic medicine university hospitals KULeuven, Belgium. For validation purposes, 3 of these bodies underwent a complete dental autopsy, a dental radiological and a full-body CT examination. The bodies were scanned in a Siemens Definition Flash CT Scanner (Siemens Medical Solutions, Germany). The images were examined on 8-and 12-bit screen resolution as 3 dimensional (3D) reconstructions and as axial, coronal and sagittal slices. InSpace® (Siemens Medical Solutions, Germany) software was used for 3D reconstruction. The dental identifiers were charted on pink PM Interpol forms (F1, F2), using the related dental codes. Optimal dental charting was obtained by combining observations on 3D reconstructions and CT slices. It was not feasible to differentiate between different kinds of dental restoration materials. The 12-bit resolution enabled to collect more detailed evidences, mainly related to positions within a tooth. Oral identifiers, not implemented in the Interpol dental coding were observed. Amongst these, the observed (3D) morphological features of dental and maxillofacial structures are important identifiers. The latter can become particularly more relevant towards the future, not only because of the inherent spatial features, yet also because of the increasing preventive dental treatment, and the decreasing application of dental restorations. In conclusion, PM full-body CT examinations need to be implemented in the PM dental charting protocols and the Interpol dental codes should be adapted accordingly.