International Journal of Legal Medicine

, Volume 132, Issue 2, pp 649–653 | Cite as

3D quantitative analysis of early decomposition changes of the human face

  • Zuzana CaplovaEmail author
  • Daniele Maria Gibelli
  • Pasquale Poppa
  • Marco Cummaudo
  • Zuzana Obertova
  • Chiarella Sforza
  • Cristina Cattaneo
Original Article


Decomposition of the human body and human face is influenced, among other things, by environmental conditions. The early decomposition changes that modify the appearance of the face may hamper the recognition and identification of the deceased. Quantitative assessment of those changes may provide important information for forensic identification. This report presents a pilot 3D quantitative approach of tracking early decomposition changes of a single cadaver in controlled environmental conditions by summarizing the change with weekly morphological descriptions. The root mean square (RMS) value was used to evaluate the changes of the face after death. The results showed a high correlation (r = 0.863) between the measured RMS and the time since death. RMS values of each scan are presented, as well as the average weekly RMS values. The quantification of decomposition changes could improve the accuracy of antemortem facial approximation and potentially could allow the direct comparisons of antemortem and postmortem 3D scans.


3D scanning Decomposition changes Personal identification Facial morphology RMS values 



Research received funding by the Department of Biomedical Sciences for Health, Università degli Studi di Milano (15-6-3016000-205).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LABANOF, Laboratorio di Antropologia e Odontologia Forense, Dipartimento di Morfologia e Scienze Biomediche, Sezione di Medicina LegaleUniversità degli Studi di MilanoMilanItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche per la SaluteUniversità degli Studi di MilanoMilanItaly

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