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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 25  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 1-8

Postmortem forensic imaging: An essential tool in contentious cases

1 Department of Radiology, Ibom Specialty Hospital, Uyo, Nigeria
2 Department of Pathology, University of Uyo, Uyo, Nigeria
3 Department of Pathology and Forensic Medicine, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Lagos, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
John Oladapo Obafunwa
Department of Pathology and Forensic Medicine, Lagos State University College of Medicine and Teaching Hospital, 1-5 Oba Akinjobi Way, Ikeja, Lagos
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DOI: 10.4103/wajr.wajr_35_17

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Background: Traditional autopsy (TA) is employed towards determining the cause and manner of death. Over the last decade, virtual autopsy (VA), involving the application of forensic imaging techniques have gained prominence and, with great precision in developed countries. Aim: This is to compare the findings at post-mortem using forensic imaging techniques and, those of TA. Materials and Methods: Post-mortem CT-Scan and MRI techniques were employed in the present case and for the first time in Nigeria, to identify the fatal injuries and determine their causation. The examination was done prior to the TA; the latter was done by a team of pathologists without the prior knowledge of the imaging findings. The results, using both methods, were subsequently compared. Results: Most of the VA and TA findings were the same except for the areas that were not readily accessible to the pathology team because of prior embalmment of the body. The inexperience of the radiologist in the area of post-mortem forensic imaging also contributed to the few discrepancies. Conclusion: This is the first virtopsy to be conducted in Nigeria and, with impressive results. The findings compare favourably with those of TA and, have the added advantage of identifying minor injuries that might easily be missed using TA method. Success is however hinged on the expertise of the forensic radiologist and forensic pathologist. While VA can be employed to solve the problems of religious opposition to TA, the cost of the former is astronomical.

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