Forensic Imaging Update in Digital Radiography

Linda Giering, PhD*

*Medical Writer, Matawan, New Jersey

Address correspondence to: Linda Giering, PhD. Email:

Disclosure statement: The author reports having no significant financial or advisory relationships with corporate organizations related to this activity.



Forensic radiology involves the use of radiologic examinations in both the living and deceased for human identification (particularly in investigations of mass disasters and decomposed bodies), evaluation and documentation of injury or cause of death (accidental or non-accidental), criminal and civil litigation (fatal or non-fatal), administrative proceedings, education, and research. The impact of forensic investigations on the living can have significant impact. Careful assessment and documentation are needed. Comparing antemortem (before death) radiographs to postmortem radiographs is very helpful when identifying the deceased, but interpretation in the postmortem setting can be challenging. The field of paleoanthropology also has benefited from the use noninvasive imaging approaches with respect to conservation, reconstruction, and analysis of fossil human remains. There has been a steady increase in the number of forensic anthropologic studies incorporating virtual osteological analyses as well as molecular and bone chemical approaches to assist in the determination of sex, age, ancestry, geographical origins, and the potential identification and evolution of disease and other illnesses. Forensic radiology uses conventional radiology, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, or digital radiography to answer investigative questions. This review will describe the techniques commonly used in forensic radiology and explore their use in both the living and the deceased.    

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