Postmortem and forensic curriculum

Dr Dan J Bell and A.Prof Frank Gaillard et al.

The postmortem and forensic curriculum is one of our curriculum articles and aims to be a collection of topics that represent core knowledge pertaining to forensic and postmortem radiology. 


Postmortem radiology: the radiographic examination of the body after death. 

Forensic radiology: radiological assessment of findings in connection with a medicolegal investigation.

Not surprisingly, much of the emphasis of postmortem radiology is forensic in nature. There are, however, also basic and fundamental postmortem radiographic features that affect all postmortem studies. We, therefore, have chosen to somewhat arbitrarily split the curriculum into these two sections, accepting that there is significant overlap. 


Postmortem radiology

Postmortem radiology, sometimes referred to as necroradiology, encompasses a variety of topics pertaining to the examination of the body with radiographic techniques after death. A substantial part of postmortem radiology revolves around establishing a “cause of death” with or without a criminal investigation, and therefore also encompasses 'natural causes of death'.

  • techniques
    • postmortem skeletal survey
    • postmortem CT
    • postmortem CT-angiography
    • postmortem MR
  • radiographic identification
    • dental
    • paranasal sinuses
    • disaster victim identification (DVI)
  • postmortem changes
    • general postmortem changes
      • postmortem interval
      • sedimentation and hypostasis
      • putrefaction
      • agony-related changes
    • system-specific postmortem changes
      • cardiovascular postmortem changes
      • respiratory postmortem changes
      • abdomen and digestive tract postmortem changes
      • central nervous system postmortem changes
      • musculoskeletal postmortem changes
  • natural causes of death
    • cardiovascular system
    • respiratory system
    • central nervous system
    • abdomen and digestive tract
    • metabolic
Forensic radiology 

Forensic topics are those that often pertain to the legal system, including but not limited to criminal proceedings. Many conditions that can result in death are not universally fatal, and as such the conditions listed here for a spectrum, and postmortem changes are included in the Radiographic features section. 

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Article information

rID: 53466
System: Forensic
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:

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