Age Estimation in Living Adults using 3D Volume Rendered CT Images of the Sternal Plastron and Lower Chest

J Forensic Sci. 2016 Jan;61(1):127-33. doi: 10.1111/1556-4029.12990. Epub 2015 Dec 22.


Age estimation is commonly of interest in a judicial context. In adults, it is less documented than in children. The aim of this study was to evaluate age estimation in adults using CT images of the sternal plastron with volume rendering technique (VRT). The evaluation criteria are derived from known methods used for age estimation and are applicable in living or dead subjects. The VRT images of 456 patients were analyzed. Two radiologists performed age estimation independently from an anterior view of the plastron. Interobserver agreement and correlation coefficients between each reader's classification and real age were calculated. The interobserver agreement was 0.86, and the correlation coefficients between readers classifications and real age classes were 0.60 and 0.65. Spearman correlation coefficients were, respectively, 0.89, 0.67, and 0.71. Analysis of the plastron using VRT allows age estimation in vivo quickly and with results similar than methods such as Iscan, Suchey-Brooks, and radiographs used to estimate the age of death.

Keywords: age estimation; forensic anthropology; forensic science; lower chest; scanner; sternal plastron; volume rendering.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Determination by Skeleton / methods*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Costal Cartilage / diagnostic imaging
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multidetector Computed Tomography
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Ribs / diagnostic imaging*
  • Sternocostal Joints / diagnostic imaging
  • Sternum / diagnostic imaging*
  • Young Adult