(Received 17 April 1987; accepted 20 May 1987)
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Characteristic changes that can be demonstrated on roentgenograms occur with increasing age in the plastron (chest plate) of humans. These alterations include progressive ossification in the costal cartilages (located characteristically in the sternal rib end, centrichondrally, and peristernally—often with sex and age distinctive patterns), maturation of the newly formed bone with trabeculation formation, loss of the smooth contour of the costo-manubrial junction, cupping of rib ends, osteoporotic changes, and arthritic changes in the sternal head of the clavicles. The sequence of development of these alterations has been examined by X-ray of 1965 cadavers of 15 years of age or over and correlated with the gross bone and cartilage morphology changes in many cases. This technique allows for age determination within 5 years of real age in 55% of cadavers and within 25% of real age in 95% of all cadavers. The greatest departures from real age are in the over-60-year groups. The same roentgenograms can allow for correct sex prediction in 99% of the population.
Staff pathologist, St. Mary Hospital, Port Arthur, TX
Professor of pathology and chief, East Tennessee State University College of Medicine, Johnson City, TN
Stock #: JFS12441J