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Technical Modifications for the Application of the Total Difference Method for Frontal Sinus Comparison

NCJ Number
Biology Volume: 11 Issue: 7 Dated: July 2022 Pages: 1075-1090
Date Published
July 2022
16 pages

The individuality observed in the frontal sinus cavity (located in the skull) can be used to corroborate an identification of an unknown skeleton, with a success rate that is comparable to that obtained by using dentition or DNA.


For admissibility in court, however, forensic methods should be continually tested to assess their repeatability and accuracy. This study tests one technical method for obtaining the frontal sinus shape: the Total Difference Method, which quantifies the sinus shape from 59 linear measurements. We develop a more streamlined application by using a measurement aid (a tracing overlay) and a semi-automated macro to collect the multiple required measurements. The radiographs of 10 adults were assessed by two observers. The data were collected following the original method in addition to the use of a measurement aid with and without the semi-automated macro. The results indicate that this technique for assessing the frontal sinus is reliable and repeatable between and within observers, both for the original method and when using the newly developed applications. Further, the semi-automated macro improved the accuracy and efficiency over the original method. Importantly, the measurement aid will allow researchers to conduct the Total Difference Method on a larger scale, creating comparative databases that can be utilized for future forensic research and practice. (Publisher Abstract Provided)

Date Published: July 1, 2022