Postmortem radiological case series of acetabular fractures after fatal aviation accidents

Henri M. de Bakker, Melanie Tijsterman, Bela Kubat, Vidija Soerdjbalie-Maikoe, Rick R. van Rijn, Bernadette S. de Bakker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Web of Science)


The purpose of this study was to describe radiological fracture patterns of the acetabulum sustained after fatal small aircraft aviation accidents, aiming at facilitating a better understanding of trauma mechanisms in a forensic setting. Postmortem conventional radiographs or CT scans of 29 victims of 20 small aircraft aviation accidents were analyzed for skeletal acetabular trauma. Among the 29 fatalities (27 males and 2 females, median age 55 years (range: 21-76 years)), 20 victims had pelvic fractures (69%), of which 19 victims (66%) had one or more acetabular fractures. Bilateral acetabular fractures occurred in 11 victims. When considering left and right acetabula in each victim as separate entities, 38 of the 58 acetabula included in this case series exhibited one or more fractures. Both the anterior and posterior acetabular columns were fractured in 28 acetabula. Acetabular fractures were frequently encountered in this series of 29 victims of small fatal aircraft accidents. Fractures of the acetabulum occur from ventrally directed impact (i.e. to the knee) or laterally directed impact (i.e. to the greater trochanter of the femur). Radiological descriptions of the fracture patterns can therefore aid in the forensic analysis of the mechanism of trauma in aviation accidents. Postmortem multi-slice CT scan images are preferrable in the assessment of acetabular fractures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-69
Number of pages8
JournalForensic Science Medicine and Pathology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018


  • Aviation accidents
  • Postmortem
  • Acetabulum
  • Acetabular fracture
  • Forensic radiology
  • CT

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