What are the benefits for forensic scientists of virtual autopsies?
Unlike the traditional model, virtual autopsies are non-invasive and do not tamper with forensic evidence. Rather, they create permanent 3-D models that can be accessed and relayed via computer to aid in getting a second opinion.
Forensic scientists can use a variety of imaging techniques in virtual autopsies, such as CT and MRI. These technologies have several advantages over conventional invasive autopsies, such as a more accurate approach to evaluating bones, and a greater range of tissue and organs that can be examined.
The technique can also help forensic pathologists to identify foreign objects in a corpse, including weapons or implants. It can also be used to examine a victim’s body after it has been buried and released from the crime scene, helping to see if there are internal injuries that would not have been visible during an exterior examination.
In addition to assisting with identifying foreign objects, the technique can also help forensic pathologists determine the location of fractures and cuts on the body. It can also be used to compare wounds to those caused by other injury-causing instruments, such as a car bumper or a hammer.
However, some forensic experts argue that virtual autopsies cannot replace traditional invasive body autopsies, especially in complex cases, such as homicide or manslaughter cases where juries will be unfamiliar with 3D imaging evidence. And defence lawyers may exploit this lack of familiarity to raise doubts about the reliability of a virtopsy in court.