The weak evidence of lip print analysis for sexual dimorphism in forensic dentistry: A systematic literature review and meta-analysis

Ademir Franco, Lorenna Keren Gomes-Lima, Murilo Navarro de Oliveira, Walbert de Andrade Vieira, Cauane Blumenberg, Márcio Magno Costa, Luiz Renato Paranhos (Lead / Corresponding author)

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This study aimed to assess the prevalence of lip print patterns among males and females, and to test the diagnostic accuracy of lip pattern analysis for sexual dimorphism in forensic dentistry. A systematic literature review was performed following the PRISMA guidelines. The search was performed in six primary databases and three databases to cover part of the grey literature. Observational and diagnostic accuracy studies that investigated lip print patterns through cheiloscopy for sexual dimorphism were selected. Risk of bias was assessed with the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) tool. Proportion meta-analysis using random effects was fitted to pool the accuracy of cheiloscopy. The odds of correctly identifying males and females was assessed through a random effects meta-analysis. GRADE approach was used to assess certainty of evidence. The search found 3,977 records, published between 1982 and 2019. Seventy-two studies fulfilled the eligibility criteria and were included in the qualitative analysis (n = 22,965 participants). Fifty studies had low risk of bias. Suzuki and Tsuchihashi’s technique was the most prevalent among studies. Seven studies were sampled for meta-analysis. The accuracy of sexual dimorphism through cheiloscopy ranged between 52.7% and 93.5%, while the pooled accuracy was 76.8% (95%CI = 65.8; 87.7). There was no difference between the accuracy to identify males or females (OR = 0.71; 95%CI = 0.26; 1.99). The large spectrum of studies on sexual dimorphism via cheiloscopy depicted accuracy percentage rates that rise uncertainty and concern. The unclear performance of the technique could lead to wrong forensic practice.
Original languageEnglish
Article number24192
Number of pages14
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 17 Dec 2021


  • Cheiloscopy
  • Forensic dentistry
  • Lip
  • Pattern
  • Sex


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