Age estimation based on the acetabulum using global illumination rendering with computed tomography
Int J Legal Med . 2021 Mar 13. doi: 10.1007/s00414-021-02539-6. Online ahead of print.
Meyssa Belghith, Elodie Marchand, Mehdi Ben Khelil, Clotilde Rougé-Maillart, Alain Blum, Laurent Martrille
Introduction: The acetabulum has been reported as a reliable age estimation marker. However, analyzing its morphological changes can be challenging using computed tomography (CT) imaging. Newly introduced global illumination rendering (GIR) applied to CT can improve the visualization of the fine details and thus the method's performance. This study aimed to analyze age estimation using morphological features of the acetabulum using GIR applied to CT.
Methods: We collected 200 postmortem CT scans. A segmentation of the acetabular joint was initially done. Then, three-dimensional (3D) reconstruction of the images was performed using GIR. These images were saved and then analyzed by two operators based on the three morphological criteria described in the Rougé-Maillart method. Reproducibility was assessed by intraclass correlation (ICC). Age estimation was assessed by multiple linear regression.
Results: The sample was composed of 155 males and 45 females, with a mean age of 50 ± 18.3 years old. We observed high agreement in both the inter-observer and intra-observer reproducibility for the three variables (ICC of 75.6 to 90.8% and 89.3 to 95.8%, respectively) and the total score (ICC of 93.5% and 95%, respectively). The three variables, as well as the total score, were significantly correlated with age groups. The total score showed a prediction rate higher than 85% for ages under 40 and over 70 years old. We identified three models with two validated models with an adjusted R2 of 85.6% and 84.8%, respectively; a standard error of 0.688 and 0.706, respectively; and a good correlation of all variables and no inter-correlation. The first validated model included the three morphological criteria scores, and the second model was based on the total score.
Conclusion: GIR applied to CT provides photorealistic images that can be useful for forensic imaging intended for age estimation based on morphological methods.
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