The incidence of scarring on the dorsum of the hand

Sue Black (Lead / Corresponding author), Briony MacDonald-McMillan, Xanthe Mallett

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    13 Citations (Scopus)
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    When undertaking image comparison of the hand between accused and perpetrator, it is not unusual for scars to be identified on the back of the hand. To investigate the occurrence of scarring in a discreet sample, a database of 238 individuals was examined, and the dorsum of the right and left hands was gridded for each individual. The position, size and type of scar were recorded within each grid. It was found that, in general, males exhibited a higher incidence of scarring than females. However, males were more likely to show scarring on their left hand whereas females were more likely to exhibit scarring on their right hand. Contrary to the literature, scarring was not most prevalent along the borders of the hand but occurred more frequently in association with the index and middle finger corridor regions. Surgical scars were rare as were large scars whereas linear scars smaller than 6 mm were the most frequently identified. Close to half of the sample did not exhibit scarring on one hand. The importance of understanding the pattern of scarring on the back of the hand is discussed in the light of forensic image comparison analysis.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)545-553
    Number of pages9
    JournalInternational Journal of Legal Medicine
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2014


    • Scar
    • Hand
    • Anatomy
    • Image comparison
    • Offender


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