State-of–the–art imaging in palaeopathology: the value of multislice computed tomography in visualizing doubtful cranial lesions



Non-invasive imaging techniques are of great value in palaeopathology. Computed tomography (CT) is widely established to visualize changes in human remains that occurred both pre and post mortem. Since 1999 an advanced form of helical CT—so called Multislice-CT (MSCT)—has become available for clinical purposes. We now present for the first time three historic cranial lesions of doubtful aetiology visualized by MSCT. Both original images and virtual reconstructions of the specimens are of high quality. In combination with peri-lesional bone density measurements these images allow an improved assessment of aetiology. The cases presented are diagnosed by MSCT as being of intra vitam nature in two individuals and of post mortem character in one case. Time consuming post-processing analysis and the still small number of scanners presently available may limit application of this new technique. Nevertheless, based on our preliminary results, we strongly recommend non-invasive evaluation by MSCT to be used for non-clinical purposes such as palaeopathological research. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.