The potential role of arthroplasty, arthrodesis, and other surgical modifications to bone in the human identification process
Lisjak, Rene M.
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Surgical modifications to bone including joint replacements, joint fusions, and surgical instrumentations and fixations are characteristics that offer vital information about an individual and which have the potential to assist in the identification of unknown persons. Eleven common orthopaedic/neurosurgical procedures are examined to assess their potential to aid in the identification process, in absence of antemortem comparative records. While manufacturer's trademarks, models and lot numbers can provide valuable information, such is not always the case due to varying factors. The sample was drawn from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample, which collects data from hospital discharges across the U.S. The sample comprised procedures performed over a ten year span (2001-2009). Results show clinical, statistical and forensic significance, though caution should be used in applying the results in forensic contexts. In addition, contained in the appendix, is a manual of surgical procedure with descriptions of many more surgical modifications to bone, including the eleven which are the core of this work.