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A Journal on Forensic Medicine




Minerva Medicolegale 2012 September;132(3):183-8

language: Italian

Moulds of cold steel wounds: an experimental study

Varetto L., Veglia O., Quaranta F., Malerba G.

Dipartimento di Anatomia, Farmacologia e Medicina Legale, Università degli Studi di Torino, Torino, Italia


Aim. The following study is to research a method that allows conclusions to be drawn regarding the length and characteristics of the sharp edged instrument used.
Methods. A series of experimental wounds were made in pig organs using various sharp edged instruments and then the reliability checked by using different moulds.
Results. The most accurate material used was silicone due to its elasticity although the extraction of the instrument was not always easy due to penetration of capillaries and cavities. A good relationship was noticed between the dimension of the blade and the shape of the mould with any discrepancies acceptable in judicial purposes. However, an exception was made when the blade was inserted into natural cavities (cardiac chambers, calyces and pelvis) or when the organ suffered post mortem changes for example rigor mortis therefore making it impossible to study the instrument.
Conclusion. It is not always possible to get accurate information regarding the characteristics of the blade, such as the shape. However, it is possible to get accurate information about the actual length of the instrument, which is otherwise not always easy to obtain during traditional autopsy when veins and natural cavities are involved.

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