The Iliac Crest in Forensic Age Estimation: Evaluation of Three Methods in Pelvis X-Rays

Viola Bartolini, Vilma Pinchi, Barbara Gualco, Stefano Vanin, Giusto Chiaracane, Giovanni D'Elia, Gian-Aristide Norelli, Martina Focardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Age assessment in children and young adults is a relevant forensic issue. It is requested not only in evaluating criminal responsibility in youths without proper identification documents, often in relation to age thresholds, but also for release of a residency permit, and asylum seekers of minors. The analysis of the Risser sign and the iliac crest ossification process has been proposed as a useful tool for forensic age estimation. We evaluated the applicability of three different age estimation methods on a sample of 497 pelvic radiographs of Italian individuals between 10 and 25 years of age. Each method showed high reliability for both reproducibility and repeatability. The staging technique inspired by Kreitner and Kellinghaus methods (KK-MS) is easier than the Risser method in applicability, as it is not affected by the variations of ossification. We observed that all subjects who attained stage 3c of KK-MS and 5 of Risser Fr were >14 years, suggesting the benefits of these methods for that age threshold. The applicability of the area measurement method, inspired by Cameriere’s approach, ranged between 12 and 20 years, but the statistical analysis showed only a moderate correlation with age. In order to evaluate the possible use of this approach it is therefore necessary to clarify and exclude external factors influencing the parameter. In conclusion, the iliac crest ossification is of interest in age estimation for forensic purposes. The evaluation of the pelvis X-ray, in addition to the other common dental and skeletal methods, could become a useful supplementary tool in age estimation for the 14 year threshold in order to fulfill forensic-level requirements.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-288
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Legal Medicine
Issue number1
Early online date20 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018


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