Forensic Pathology of Fractures and Mechanisms of Injury: Postmortem CT Scanning, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Forensic Pathology of Fractures and Mechanisms of Injury

Postmortem CT Scanning, 1st Edition

By Michael P. Burke

CRC Press

273 pages | 381 Color Illus.

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pub: 2011-12-06
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Practitioners of forensic medicine have various tools at their disposal to determine cause of death, and today’s computed tomography (CT) can provide valuable clues if images are interpreted properly. Forensic Pathology of Fractures and Mechanisms of Injury: Postmortem CT Scanning is a guide for the forensic pathologist who wants to use CT imaging to assist in determining the mechanism of injury that might have contributed to death.

Advice from a forensic pathologist using CT images in daily practice

Drawn from the author’s work at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, the book presents an overview of his experience with CT in routine casework, provides an appraisal of the literature with respect to fractures, and offers suggestions for the evaluation of CT images by pathologists. He then suggests what reasonable conclusions can be drawn from the images, the circumstances surrounding the death, and an external examination of the deceased.

Includes images and case studies

Enhanced with hundreds of CT images that clarify the text and case studies to put the material in context, the book begins by discussing classification of injuries and different types of fractures. It then explores the basics of CT. Next, the book gives a head-to-toe catalogue of various injuries and how they are represented on a CT scan. Finally, the book explores the use of CT in difficult forensic cases such as decomposed and burnt remains, falls, child abuse, and transportation incidents.

While not intended to make a forensic pathologist an expert at CT image interpretation, the book enables these professionals to become familiar with the technology so they can competently use it in their practice, heightening the accuracy of their cause of death determinations.

Table of Contents

Introduction of Computed Tomography (CT) into Routine Forensic Pathology Practice


The Victorian Model

The Introduction of Postmortem CT

Current Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine (VIFM) System

Decision-Making Process

Cause of Death

Family Contact Program

CT in Trauma

CT in Tissue Donation

Errors in CT Diagnosis by Forensic Pathologists

Proficiency Standard of Forensic Pathologists in Analysis of CT Images

CT Education for Forensic Pathologists

Deficiencies of CT in Routine Forensic Practice


Practical Issues in the Use of CT in Routine Forensic Practice

Illustrative Case Studies

Classification of Injuries


Types of Skin Injury

Other Skin and Soft Tissue Injuries

Inflammation and Artifacts

Postmortem Insect Predation

The Forensic Importance of Skin Injuries

Case Study


Anatomy of Bone


Pediatric Fractures

Case Study

Computed Tomography


Basic Principles of CT

Evolution of CT Scanning

Reconstruction in CT Scanning

The Detection of Foreign Materials by MDCT

Practical Issues in CT Scanning

Artifacts in CT Scanning

Fracture Diagnosis

Pediatric Fractures and CT

Practical Guidelines for Forensic Pathologists Reading CT Scans

Common Fracture Complications Seen on CT

Head: Skull, Face, and Hyoid Bone


Facial Fractures


Vertebral Column

Cervical Spine

Thoracolumbar Spine


The Concept of the Three Spinal Columns

Cervicothoracic Junction

Thoracolumbar Spine



CT Diagnosis of Thoracolumbar Fractures

Forensic Issues in Thoracolumbar Fractures







Upper Limbs




Carpal Bones

Metacarpals and Phalanges

Shoulder Dislocation

Elbow Fracture Dislocation

Wrist Fracture Dislocation

Forensic Aspects of Upper Limb Injury




Avulsion Fractures

Pediatric Pelvic Fractures

CT Diagnosis of Pelvic Fractures

Forensic Aspects of Pelvic Fractures

Case Study 1

Case Study 2

Case Study 3

Lower Limbs





Forensic Issues in Fractures to the Lower Leg

Fractures Involving the Foot

Joint Injury to the Lower Leg

The Use of CT in Difficult Forensic Cases

Decomposed and Burnt Remains


Child Abuse

Transportation Incidents

Concluding Remarks


About the Author

Michael P. Burke has been a consulting forensic pathologist for 18 years and has performed 12,500 autopsies. He has worked in Kosovo as part of the United Nations investigation of war crimes and was part of the team investigating the Port Arthur massacre in Hobart, Tasmania.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Forensic Science
MEDICAL / Radiology & Nuclear Medicine