Volume 33, Issue 5 (September 1988)
The Effects of Aging on the Comparability of Antemortem and Postmortem Radiographs
To study the effects of aging on the ability to make positive identifications from radiographs of the postcranial axial skeleton, we collected early and later exposed abdominal X-rays from five patients whose period of treatment spanned from ten to twenty-three years. Corresponding lumbar vertebrae from each pair of radiographs were compared for similarities and differences in several of the criteria that have been reported as useful for individualization. These include shapes of the bodies, spinous processes, transverse processes, pedicles, and osteophytic extrusions. It is our conclusion that even though bone is a flexible tissue and changes constantly during life, aspects of the criteria chosen are quite stable and that even after two-and-a-half decades the ability to make positive identifications from postcranial axial material is not necessarily diminished.