Non-contact 3D Surface Scanning of Traumatic Injuries for Forensic Medicine

  • Awatif Shamata

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Non-contact three-dimensional (3D) surface scanning methods are accurate and shown to produce advanced wound documentation and analysis in forensic medicine: the structured light 3D scanning technique is one of these methods. Despite the progress with this technique, much is yet to be discovered regarding the results of using it to record traumatic injuries. The aim of this study was to assess the efficiency of this technique for recording and analysing different types of traumas, while involving living persons and considering conventional documentation methods. This assessment has been completed by achieving three research objectives, which are proposed to begin with evaluation the overall feasibility of the method on the living persons by scanning different intact body areas, then to assess the methods’ capability for reconstructing different types of closed traumas from injured subjects alongside open traumas from artificial mannequins.
Methods: Live subjects who were students and staff at Teesside University were participated to scan different bare areas of extremities, torso areas, challenging surfaces (such as dark skin and hairy surfaces) and complicated anatomical areas (such as the neck and the axillary area), alongside facial scanning. This was achieved after establishing simple scanning guidelines to use within this study. Then, injured live victims from the Medico-Legal Centre in Benghazi city were included to scan a wide range of traumas, such as abrasion, bruise and stitched wounds using the Pico scan structured light 3D scanner. While simulated open wounds located on artificial mannequins, having complicated areas and depths of up to 3 to 5 cm, were also scanned in laboratory conditions using the HP structured light 3D scanner. At the same time, all of the injuries were recorded using a professional digital camera which allowed a complete comparison between the two recording methods to be completed.
Results: 3D scanning results of different intact body areas of live subjects came in the form of acceptable 3D geometric reproductions with colour-textured information. The different traumatic wounds were reconstructed three-dimensionally and the results showed detailed and intact geometry without holes or defects, combined with evident colour-textured information. The visualisation of the 3D and 2D results of the same injuries on the screen was almost identical, but some important wound features, which are useful for wound analysis, were better represented in the 3D results, for example, wound edges and colour-textured resolution. These 3D documents were observed to have extra advantages over the 2D documents. Importantly, they reflected true scales and could be manipulated from different angles while displaying 3D geometry of the wounded areas instead of 2D flat presentation. Such advantages would be favourable during wound examination alongside measurements and for wound presentation in court. Intra-observer reliability of 3D wound measurements in all calculated dimensions were classified as good and excellent (ICC 0.998 to 1.000). No statistically significant differences were exhibited between the 3D wound measurements and the direct manual measurements. The strength of the relationship between them exhibited strong positive correlations (93.5% to 99.4%), which were statistically significant. This research provided a novel method for examining forensic injuries in three dimensions and further validated an approach for measuring wounds in 3D.
Conclusion: Based on the above, using the structured light 3D technique in forensic medicine for wound documentation and analysis is a valuable contribution and advance in the field.
Date of Award31 Oct 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Teesside University
SupervisorTim Thompson (Supervisor)

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