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30.04.2018 | Review | Ausgabe 5/2018

International Journal of Legal Medicine 5/2018

Forensic age estimation using computed tomography of the medial clavicular epiphysis: a systematic review

International Journal of Legal Medicine > Ausgabe 5/2018
Coralie Hermetet, Pauline Saint-Martin, Arsène Gambier, Léo Ribier, Bénédicte Sautenet, Camille Rérolle
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s00414-018-1847-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.


Medicolegal physicians are increasingly called upon to aid in determining the administrative age group affiliation of refugees with questionable unaccompanied minor claims. According to guidelines for forensic age assessment, age differentiation along the 18-year-old cut-off relies on clavicular ossification. The thin-slice computed tomography scan (TSCTs) of the medial clavicular epiphysis (MCE) is one of the methods contributing to this assessment, though it is not yet universally accepted. The aim of this systematic review was to identify scientific papers where age was assessed using TSCTs of the MCE and to observe whether this examination was reproducible and reliable in estimating a person’s age relative to the 18-year-old threshold. A search algorithm was applied to several databases to identify articles in accordance with the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic-Reviews and Meta-Analyses) statement. One boxplot per article was constructed, separating by stage of maturation and sex. The 13 articles selected represented a sample of 5605 individuals (3396 males, 2209 females) aged 10 to 35 years. All individuals classified as stages 4 and 5 were aged 18 years or older. The same result was obtained concerning stage 3c, except in one article. The results thus appear reliable and reproducible, in particular, with respect to the 18-year-old threshold; medicolegal physicians should be able to estimate that all individuals in stages 4 and 5 are at least 18 years old. Additional studies applied to several other populations in the world should complement the selected studies.

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