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Interpreting Injury Mechanisms of Blunt Force Trauma from Butterfly Fracture Formation.

Authors
  • Reber, Samantha L1
  • Simmons, Tal1
  • 1 School of Forensic and Investigative Sciences, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, PR1 2HE, U.K.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of forensic sciences
Publication Date
Nov 01, 2015
Volume
60
Issue
6
Pages
1401–1411
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.12797
PMID: 26289902
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

According to biomechanics of fracture production during blunt impact, tubular bones are subject to compressive (impact site) and tensile (opposite impact site) forces; this causes bones to break in tension before compression, producing Y-shaped fracture patterns with breakaway (butterfly) fragments. In current forensic models, the side of the bone exhibiting the breakaway fragment is designated the impact side, with initial breakage occurring opposite. Fracture production and patterning of blunt impacts to 255 sheep femora were analyzed. Contra the existing model, only 60% of complete butterfly fractures exhibited impact side breakaway fragments. Although fractures initiated on the tension, nonimpact side, butterfly fragments formed on either compression or tension sides. Using newly defined breakaway fragment shape criteria, impact side was estimated with 98% accuracy for both complete and partial butterfly fractures. Furthermore, the results suggest that the impact site is the located on one of the Y-fracture's arms, not the butterfly fragment's center, as previously modeled. © 2015 American Academy of Forensic Sciences.

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