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The Pubic Symphysis in Forensic Osteology - Essay Example

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During the growth and development period of human beings, age estimation can be accurately calculated with the help of dentition. But with the stoppage of growth and eruption of permanent dentition, age calculation becomes more difficult relying on evidence of degenerative processes…
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The Pubic Symphysis in Forensic Osteology
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Download file to see previous pages The pubic symphysis worn at their surfaces as age advances. It is possible to estimate the age of a dead person by examining the wear and tear at the surfaces of pubic symphysis. "When the changes are made according to the symphyseal formula technique, it is found that age estimates based on this single event are more dependable than similar age estimates from other bones. This technique has made age estimation from unknown skeletal remains more realistic, more accurate and more dependable." (Parikh, C. k., 1990)
"The Pubic symphysis, a symphysis is a false joint, is the junction of the two pubic bones lying roughly 4-5 inches below the navel. This junction is bridged by cartilage that acts as a cushion between the two bones." (Houck, M. M. & Siegel, J. A., 2006)
The pubic symphysis is the central cartilaginous joint which unites the superior rami of the left and right pubic bones. The location of pubic symphysis is anterior to the urinary bladder and superior to the external genitalia: which above the vulva for females and above the penis for males. The suspensory ligament of the penis of males is attached to the pubic symphysis, whereas clitoris in females is in close connection. Pubic symphysis is derived from the Greek word "symphysis" which means growing together. It belongs to the category of non-synovial amphiarthrodial joint. Pubic symphysis has its anterior width 3-5 mm greater than its intrapelvic posterior width. Pubic symphysis is connected by fibro cartilage and its centre is avascular. The ends of both pubic bones are covered by a thin layer of hyaline cartilage. The fibro cartilaginous disk is reinforced mainly by many ligaments of which superior and inferior ligaments are important. The strong and thicker superior ligament is reinforced by the tendons of rectus abdominis, obliques externus, gracilis and thigh adductors muscle. The inferior ligament of pubic arch is known as the arcuate pubic ligament. Pubic symphysis is 9-10 mm width during birth, with thick cartilaginous end plates. During adulthood the end plates decreases in width to thinner layer. Pubic disc is thicker in females which permits more movement of the pelvic bones, and thus provides a greater diameter of pelvic cavity during delivery. "The pubic symphysis is less deep, and the pubic arch is wider and more rounded than in the male, where it is an angle rather than an arch." (Gray, H. 1918)
(BBC News, 2001)
During pregnancy, hormones like relaxin remodels the hyaline cartilage thereby allowing the pelvic bones to be more flexible for delivery. The normal non-pregnant gap of the symphysis pubis is 4-5 mm. but in pregnancy, the width increases at least by 2-3 mm, and thus, there is a total width of up to 9mm for pregnant women. During delivery, the pubic symphysis separates to some degree and this separation can leads to diastases of the syphysis pubis. The diastases could be the result of a rapid birth or a forceps delivery or may be prenatal. A diastases of the pubic symphysis is a symptom of pelvic girdle pain. Historically, symphysiotomy used to be done when labour failed to progress due to large size of the head of the fetes and consequently the fetes' skull was crushed.
Fractures of pelvis are important in forensic pathology in two aspects - First, a great amount of force is required to disrupt the pelvic ring. Second, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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