Brain Imaging in Postmortem Forensic Radiology

  • Yohsuke MakinoEmail author
  • Maiko Yoshida
  • Daisuke Yajima
  • Hirotaro Iwase


The importance of brain postmortem imaging is roughly twofold. Firstly, brain postmortem imaging can assist autopsy in cause of death determination, in personal identification, and in various other forensic tasks. By knowing brain information in advance, pathologists and assistants who would perform irreversible and destructive investigations of the head of cadavers could prepare to search for the lesions suggested by imaging prior to the autopsy. Secondly, postmortem imaging is useful for “triage” of autopsies. In the cranium, there are many fatal lesions and injuries that can be evaluated using postmortem imaging, which has the potential to reduce unnecessary autopsies. At the same time, since postmortem imaging cannot be a perfect substitute for autopsies, there are various pitfalls and limitations for investigating the cause of death based on postmortem imaging. In this chapter, we introduce the main points of postmortem imaging of the brain in the context of these two points. We also describe our recommended protocol and the basic postmortem changes observed in CT to facilitate an accurate understanding of the imaging findings.


Brain imaging Postmortem CT Skull fractures Intracranial gas Intracranial hemorrhage Cerebral herniation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yohsuke Makino
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Maiko Yoshida
    • 2
  • Daisuke Yajima
    • 2
    • 3
  • Hirotaro Iwase
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Forensic Medicine, Graduate School of MedicineThe University of TokyoTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Department of Legal Medicine, Graduate School of MedicineChiba UniversityChibaJapan
  3. 3.Department of Forensic Medicine, School of MedicineInternational University of Health and WelfareNaritaJapan

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