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Postmortem Computed Tomography of Gunshot Wounds

Event Dates
Event Duration
1 hour

In the third webinar, participants will be introduced to the use of PMCT for examining decedents with gunshot wounds, both homicidal and self-inflicted.  At the New Mexico OMI, a PMCT scan is performed in virtually all gunshot wound (GSW) related deaths.  In cases of suspected homicide or suspicious suicides, autopsy is also performed.  However, in non-suspicious cases involving self-inflicted GSW, PMCT is combined with an external examination, and sometimes a partial autopsy to retrieve a retained projectile, replacing the full autopsy.   

Participants will be introduced to how PMCT is used to determine the number and location of retained projectiles of various types, projectile fragments, and related debris.  The CT appearance of entrance and exit wounds of the skull, and associated fractures, will be illustrated and discussed.  The webinar will also discuss the appearance of wound tracks in other anatomic locations, including injuries to skin, soft tissue, organs, and bony tissue, and how the identification of these injuries by PMCT can be helpful in delineating trajectory.  Factors that may complicate the determination of trajectory, such as ricochet and exit/re-entry, will also be discussed. 

Finally, potential pitfalls and limitations of the use of PMCT will be described.  These include range of fire determination, retained projectiles from past GSWs, and foreign bodies that mimic the appearance of projectiles. 

View other webinars in this series.

Date Created: November 19, 2020