Quantification of spheno-occipital synchondrosis fusion in a contemporary Malaysian population

Salina Hisham, Ambika Flavel, Nurliza Abdullah, Mohamad Helmee Mohamad Noor, Daniel Franklin

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18 Citations (Web of Science)


Timing of fusion of the spheno-occipital synchondrosis (SOS) is correlated with age. Previous research, however, has demonstrated variation in the timing of closure among different global populations. The present study aims to quantify the timing of SOS fusion in Malaysian individuals as visualised in multi-detector computed tomography (CT) scans and to thereafter formulate age estimation models based on fusion status. Anonymised cranial CT scans of 336 males and 164 females, aged 5–25 years, were acquired from the National Institute of Forensic Medicine, Hospital Kuala Lumpur and Department of Diagnostic Imaging, Hospital Sultanah Aminah. The scans were received in DICOM format and reconstructed into three-dimensional images using OsiriX. The SOS is scored as open, fusing endocranially, fusing ectocranially or completely fused. Statistical analyses are performed using IBM SPSS Statistics version 24. Transition analysis (Nphases2) is then utilised to calculate age ranges for each stage. To assess the reliability of an observation, intra- and inter-observer agreement is quantified using Fleiss Kappa and was found to be excellent (κ = 0.785–0.907 and 0.812). The mean (SD) age for complete fusion is 20.84 (2.84) years in males and 19.78 (3.35) years in females. Transition ages between Stages 0 and 1, 1 and 2, and 2 and 3 in males are 12.52, 13.98 and 15.52 years, respectively (SD 1.37); in females, the corresponding data are 10.47, 12.26 and 13.80 years (SD 1.72). Complete fusion of the SOS was observed in all individuals above the age of 18 years. SOS fusion status provides upper and lower age boundaries for forensic age estimation in the Malaysian sample. © 2018 Elsevier B.V.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-84
Number of pages7
JournalForensic Science International
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018


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