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Modern post-mortem imaging: an update on recent developments
Forensic Sciences Research
PDF: Authoritative Review
Modern post-mortem investigations use an increasing number of digital imaging methods, which can be collected under the term “post-mortem imaging”. Most methods of forensic imaging are from the radiology field and are therefore techniques that show the interior of the body with technologies such as X-ray or magnetic resonance imaging. To digitally image the surface of the body, other techniques are regularly applied, e.g. three-dimensional (3D) surface scanning (3DSS) or photogrammetry. Today's most frequently used techniques include post-mortem computed tomography (PMCT), post-mortem magnetic resonance imaging (PMMR), post-mortem computed tomographic angiography (PMCTA) and 3DSS or photogrammetry. Each of these methods has specific advantages and limitations. Therefore, the indications for using each method are different. While PMCT gives a rapid overview of the interior of the body and depicts the skeletal system and radiopaque foreign bodies, PMMR allows investigation of soft tissues and parenchymal organs. PMCTA is the method of choice for viewing the vascular system and detecting sources of bleeding. However, none of those radiological methods allow a detailed digital view of the body's surface, which makes 3DSS the best choice for such a purpose. If 3D surface scanners are not available, photogrammetry is an alternative. This review article gives an overview of different imaging techniques and explains their applications, advantages and limitations. We hope it will improve understanding of the methods.
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