Magnetic resonance imaging of distal tibia and calcaneus for forensic age estimation in living individuals

Ekizoglu O., Hocaoglu E., CAN İ. Ö., Inci E., AKSOY S., Bilgili M. G.

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF LEGAL MEDICINE, vol.129, no.4, pp.825-831, 2015 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 129 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s00414-015-1187-1
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.825-831
  • Keywords: Forensic age estimation, Magnetic resonance imaging, Tibia, Calcaneus, MEDIAL CLAVICULAR EPIPHYSIS, ILIAC CREST, OSSIFICATION, MRI, MATURATION, ULTRASOUND, FUSION, UNION, STAGE, WRIST
  • Dokuz Eylül University Affiliated: Yes


In recent years, methods by which to decrease radiation exposure during age estimation have gained importance and become a main research area in the forensic sciences. Imaging tools such as X-ray and computed tomography (CT) are accepted as the main diagnostic methods for evaluation of the epiphysis in living individuals; however, radiation exposure and superimposition are the main disadvantages of these techniques. Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging provides an advantage in terms of preventing radiation exposure. In this study, we performed an MR analysis of the degree of fusion of the distal tibia and calcaneal epiphysis and investigated the utility of this technique in the Turkish population. Using the three-stage method described by Saint-Martin et al., we retrospectively evaluated 167 MR images (97 males, 70 females; mean age, 17.7 +/- 4.8 years for males and 17.6 +/- 4.9 years for females; age range of all subjects, 8-25 years). Intraobserver and interobserver evaluation showed good repeatability and consistency of this method. Stages 2 and 3 ossification of the distal tibial epiphysis first occurred at age 14 and 15 years in males and 12 and 14 years in females, respectively. Stages 2 and 3 ossification of the calcaneal epiphysis first occurred at age 14 and 16 years in males and 10 and 12 years in females, respectively. When performed alone, MR analysis of the distal tibial and calcaneal epiphysis offers limited information for forensic age estimation. However, we suggest that MR analysis can be used as a supportive method when it is necessary to avoid repeated radiation exposure.