Age estimation by an analysis of spheno-occipital synchondrosis using cone-beam computed tomography

Sinanoglu A. , Kocasarac H. D. , Noujeim M.

LEGAL MEDICINE, vol.18, pp.13-19, 2016 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 18
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.legalmed.2015.11.004
  • Title of Journal : LEGAL MEDICINE
  • Page Numbers: pp.13-19
  • Keywords: Forensic age estimation, Spheno-occipital synchondrosis, Cone-beam computed tomography, CLOSURE, FUSION


The spheno-occipital synchondrosis has a relatively late ossification in comparison with other cranial base synchondroses, which makes it a point of interest for forensic age determination studies. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the reliability of spheno-occipital synchondrosis development in age determination in a Turkish population and to evaluate the reproducibility and reliability of cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) in an evaluation of the fusion stages of spheno-occipital synchondrosis. CBCT mid-sagittal images of 238 (90 males and 148 females) patients between the ages of 7 and 25, with a mean age of 15.45 +/- 0.26 and 16.43 +/- 0.37, respectively, were examined by three Oral and Maxillofacial Radiologists who evaluated the degree of synchondrosis fusion using a four-stage system. A reevaluation of 50 cases was conducted for intraobserver assessment. Multiple statistical analyses were used to assess the correlation between age and the fusion stage, to compare gender and age according to stages, and to evaluate the inter- and intraobserver agreement. The mean ages for complete fusion (Stage 3) were 18 and 20 for females and males, respectively. The interobserver agreement ranged between substantial and perfect, while the intraobserver agreement was substantial for all three observers. Based on these results, CBCT, when available, might be the method of choice for age estimation using the spheno-occipital synchondrosis fusion stages. Evaluating spheno-occipital synchondrosis has a value for age estimation around the age of 18 years, which affects the legal decisions in Turkey. (C) 2015 Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd.