Estimation of age, in a cadaver, by macroscopic examination of the spheno-occipital suture

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Background: Age is a primary characteristic in the identification of the dead. The Spheno-occipital suture is a reliable indicator of a minimum age of 20 years. Macroscopic examination of the spheno-occipital suture dividing into open, semi-closed, and closed; has been developed for the estimation of age in adolescents. This technique is feasible because of its simplicity and accuracy. Objectives: To examine the degree of closure of the basilar synchondrosis and estimate chronological age, using existing linear regression, to establish the existence of a link between suture closure and chronological age and to assess the feasibility and applicability of this technique in medico-legal practice. Materials and Method: It is a cross-sectional study conducted on the population of Mangalore. The data was collected by measuring the length and degree of closure of the spheno-occipital suture among the 21 autopsied bodies performed in Department of Forensic Medicine, Kasturba Medical College, Mangalore. Statistical analysis was done using SPSS (Statistical package for Social Science) version 11.5. Results: The study was conducted among 20 cadavers among which 13 were males and 8 were females. The responses are 13 (62%) from 26-30 age group, 5 (24%) from 20-25 age group and 3 (8%) from 30-35 age group. It was seen that 76.92% (10) of male sutures were closed, 15.39% (2) were open, and 7.69% (1) were semi-closed; 75% (6) of female sutures were closed, and 25% (2) were open. It was seen that in male sutures 76.92% (10) were above 3.5 cm in length, and 23.08 % were above 3.0cm and below 3.5cm; in females 75% (6) were above 2.5 cm, and 25% (2) were above 2.5cm, but below 3.0cm. Conclusion: The study showed that spheno-occipital suture is an important ossification center and a reliable indicator of age in adolescents. The ossification of the Sphenoid-occipital suture shows sexual dimorphism, in characteristics like length, onset and completion of closure. However, the closure of the sphenoid-occipital synchondrosis is different races and the mean average time of closure of one race cannot denote the mean average time of closure of another race.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)202-205
Number of pages4
JournalIndian Journal of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 01-10-2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Toxicology
  • Law
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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