VIRTOPSY - the Swiss virtual autopsy approach

Leg Med (Tokyo). 2007 Mar;9(2):100-4. doi: 10.1016/j.legalmed.2006.11.011. Epub 2007 Feb 1.


The aim of the VIRTOPSY project () is utilizing radiological scanning to push low-tech documentation and autopsy procedures in a world of high-tech medicine in order to improve scientific value, to increase significance and quality in the forensic field. The term VIRTOPSY was created from the terms virtual and autopsy: Virtual is derived from the Latin word 'virtus', which means 'useful, efficient and good'. Autopsy is a combination of the old Greek terms 'autos' (=self) and 'opsomei' (=I will see). Thus autopsy means 'to see with ones own eyes'. Because our goal was to eliminate the subjectivity of "autos", we merged the two terms virtual and autopsy - deleting "autos" - to create VIRTOPSY. Today the project VIRTOPSY combining the research topics under one scientific umbrella, is characterized by a trans-disciplinary research approach that combines Forensic Medicine, Pathology, Radiology, Image Processing, Physics, and Biomechanics to an international scientific network. The paper will give an overview of the Virtopsy change process in forensic medicine.

MeSH terms

  • Autopsy*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted*
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Switzerland
  • Tomography, Spiral Computed*