Postmortem and forensic curriculum

Last revised by Hamish Smith on 20 Oct 2018

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 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'.

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 form a spectrum, and postmortem changes are included in the Radiographic features section. 

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