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A Journal on Pediatrics, Neonatology, Adolescent Medicine,
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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Minerva Pediatrica 2015 April;67(2):203-8

language: English

Radiological pitfalls of age estimation in adopted children: a case report

Gibelli D., De Angelis D., Cattaneo C.

Section of Forensic Medicine, Department of Biomedical Sciences of Health, University of Milan, LABANOF Laboratorio di Antropologia e Odontologia Forense, Milan, Italy


Age estimation has a relevant importance in assessing adopted children, also in cases where the age of the minor seems unquestioned, since pathological conditions may radically alter bodily growth. This may lead to an incorrect age evaluation, with consequent social and psychological problems linked to an inadequate collocation in public school. This study aims at exposing a case report concerning age estimation for a newly adopted child from Cambodia; previous clinical documentation reported information suggesting possible malnutrition, which was verified by the observation of a general disalignment of bone and dental structures. This example shows the importance of a thorough forensic evaluation of adopted children from other countries in order to verify the possible environmental modification of physiological growth even where it seems not to be needed, and represents a caveat for clinical and social personnel dealing with adoption procedures.

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