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Minerva Medicolegale 2008 December;128(4):195-211

language: Italian

Observations of fracture pattern in skull firearm wounds: second part

Iesurum A., Vercelli A., Invernizzi E., Montanari E.

Istituto di Medicina Legale Università di Bologna, Bologna, Italia


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The authors present two examples of cranial wounds and focus on radiate fractures. In the first case it was difficult to detect the radiate fracture located between an atypical entrance hole and the terminal retention niche, because of its origin. This radiate fracture could have originated from the entrance hole or from the retention niche. Afterwards the authors demonstrate that the radiate fracture was created in the blind end. The second case is also similar, because both have radiated fractures that depart from a retention niche. As a consequence it is reasonable to think that wounds due to gunshots are more similar to contusive lesions than to characteristic gunshots, probably because of low kinetic bullet impact energy. In the first case a plastic deformation is identified in the blind end of the bone niche, and this fits to the described hypothesis. In the second case a deformation caused by a lead bullet was evident just in the terminal niche. This is a proof that explains the dispersion of energy in the terminal path. The authors report other key-hole wounds cases described by different authors, since they are interested in radiate fractures from the entrance hole and in concentric fractures. They also point out an old experimental case of cranial wounds due to blank cartridge shot by a war rifle with the purpose of proving that the compound of fractures generated is more similar to a contusive trauma than to a gunshot injury.

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