Post-mortem cross-sectional slicing of the frontal sinuses and comparison with AM anatomical imagens – A case report

Malthus Fonseca Galvão (Lead / Corresponding author), Ademir Franco, Izabella Ferreira dos Santos Goetten, Diego Rafael Sena Gomes, Rhonan Ferreira Silva

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The anatomical features of the frontal sinuses (FS) are known as highly distinctive and potentially useful for human identification. Assessing these structures with advanced postmortem (PM) imaging, however, is not always feasible in medicolegal units worldwide. This study proposes and validates the anatomical assessment of the FS via cross-sectional slicing of the frontal bone to reproduce images comparable to antemortem (AM) axial views. The bodies of two unknown sisters with advanced decay (decomposition stage III.1) were referred for human identification. The AM data provided for comparative analysis consisted of multi-slice computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance images of the skull. In the lack of primary alternatives for human identification, PM assessment of the FS was considered. Justified by the mortuary facilities there were not equipped with CT devices, sequential cross-sectional slicing of the frontal bone was performed. With the skulls in supine position, the technique followed Griesinger’s anteroposterior plane using an oscillating saw blade at 90⁰. Multiple slices (n = 20) of the frontal bone were obtained in craniocaudaldirection up to the superior limit of the orbits. The outline of the FS, as well the number of lobes and position of the intersinus septum were visible and compatible with the AM data, enabling positive identification. External validation of the proposed technique was accomplished by reproducing it to successfully identify a male victim in a medicolegal institute 2,000 KM far from the original site.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-94
Number of pages11
JournalRBOL- Revista Brasileira de Odontologia Legal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jan 2022


  • Anatomy
  • Forensic dentistry
  • Forensic medicine
  • Frontal sinus
  • Human identification


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