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Age determination from epiphyseal appearance and union around the elbow and wrist joints and their correlation with gender: a radiological study in a Nigerian population

Introduction: Age determination of an individual from the appearance and fusion of the ossification centers is a well-accepted fact in forensic medicine. Therefore, radiological age which is a cornerstone of age determination is an important feature in personal identification. Material and Methods: This retrospective cross-sectional study was conducted at Warri Central Government and Oghara Teaching Hospitals in Nigeria using dorso-volar projected normal radiographs of the wrist and elbow joints from randomly selected sample of 224 x-rays (120 males and 104 females aged between 1 year and 21 years). Results: The appearance of the epiphyseal plate of distal radius was seen in age groups 3-4 and 2-3 years, distal ulna in age groups 9–10 and 8–9 years, medial epicondyle at 8–9 and 7-8 years, while head of radius appeared at 6–7 and 5–6 years in males and females respectively. The distal radius fused completely at 18–19 and 17–18 years, distal ulna at 19–20 and 18–19, medial epicondyle fused at 17–18 and 16–17 years, head of radius at 16–17, and 15–16 years for males and females respectively. Conclusion: These findings when compared with other studies, showed wide variations among different population groups. The gender variability and specificity of age determination in a particular population is also important.
Keywords: Forensic sciences, ossification centers, epiphyseal appearance, fusion, age determination

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