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02.12.2016 | Original Article | Ausgabe 3/2017

International Journal of Legal Medicine 3/2017

Forensic 3D documentation of skin injuries

International Journal of Legal Medicine > Ausgabe 3/2017
Chiara Villa
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1007/​s00414-016-1499-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.


An accurate and precise documentation of injuries is fundamental in a forensic pathological context. Photographs and manual measurements are taken of all injuries during autopsies, but ordinary photography projects a 3D wound on a 2D space. Using technologies such as photogrammetry, it is possible to create 3D detailed, to-scale, true-color documentation of skin injuries from 2D pictures. A comparison between the measurements of 165 lesions taken during autopsies and on photogrammetrically processed pictures was performed. Different types of lesions were considered: 38 blunt force injuries, 58 sharp force injuries, and 69 gunshot injuries. In all cases, very low differences were found with mean ≤ 0.06 cm and median ≤ 0.04 cm; a mean difference of 0.13 cm was found for the blunt force injuries. Wilcoxon signed-rank test showed no statistically significant differences between the two measurement methods (p > 0.05). The results of intra- and inter-observer tests indicated perfect agreement between the observers with mean value differences of ≤ 0.02 cm. This study demonstrated the validity of using photogrammetry for documentation of injuries in a forensic pathological context. Importantly, photogrammetry provides a permanent 3D documentation of the injuries that can be reassessed with great accuracy at any time. Such 3D models may also be combined with 3D reconstruction obtained from post-mortem CT scans for a comprehensive documentation of the lesion (internal and external information) and ultimately used for virtual reconstruction.

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