Estimation of Age from the Fusion of Human Sternum in ‘Bengalee’ Population from Dead Bodies Sent for Autopsy in NRSMCH Morgue
Keywords:Age, Identification, Sternum, Bengalee, Fusion
Background: Age is a datum of identification for any human individual.It is mandatory for an autopsy
surgeon to perform autopsy of unknown dead bodies brought by the police, and the dilemma that he or
she faces is how to establish the identity of that body.Sternum is the bone which gives a fair idea for the
estimation of age in the later decades of life. Method: the aim of the study is estimation of Age from the
fusion of different parts of Sternum in a human individual.Dead bodies of ‘Bengalee’ persons sent for
Post Mortem examination in the Hospital morgue, Department of Forensic Medicine & Toxicology, N.R.S
Medical College & Hospital, Kolkata. 120 sternums are studied in this study over a period of 1.5 years.
Fusion of xiphisternum with the lower end of mesosternum starts above 22 years of age, complete union
can be observed above 31 years on the other hand beginning of union can also be seen at 45 years of age.
No union or beginning of union was seen in older ages also.Complete fusion between manubrium and upper
end of mesosternum was found at as low as 24 years age,yet beginning of union and recently complete union
was seen at 40 years and 47 years- 49 years respectively. Older ages also showed no union. There was no
significant difference between male and female in respect to the ages showing fusion.The increasing grades
of fusion of different sternal segments when compared with increasing ages showed significant statistical
correlation. Conclusion: In the ‘Bengalee’ population it can be said that with increasing age the different
parts of sternum show increasing grades of fusion, fusion of the sternebrae startsaround puberty and is
completed by 17 years- 20 years of age, xiphoid process fuses next and then comes the fusion between
manubrium and mesosternum, though exceptions are there, where younger aged individuals showed
complete union yet older aged individuals showed no union or beginning of union.
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