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The Use of Orthopedic Surgical Devices for Forensic Identification

Authors

  • Rebecca J. Wilson M.A.,

    1. Department of Anthropology, The University of Tennessee, 250 South Stadium Hall, Knoxville, TN 37996-0720.
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  • Jonathan D. Bethard M.A.,

    1. Department of Anthropology, The University of Tennessee, 250 South Stadium Hall, Knoxville, TN 37996-0720.
    2. Department of Natural and Behavioral Sciences, Pellissippi State Community College, Knoxville, TN.
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  • Elizabeth A. DiGangi Ph.D.

    1. International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP-Colombia), Bogotá, Colombia.
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  • Presented in part at the 58th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, February 20–25, 2006, in Seattle, WA.

Additional information and reprint requests:
Rebecca J. Wilson, M.A.
Department of Anthropology
University of Tennessee
250 South Stadium Hall
Knoxville, TN 37996-0720
E-mail: rwilson8@utk.edu

Abstract

Abstract:  Surgically implanted devices have become increasingly common in modern skeletal material. Therefore, having the knowledge of the variety of implanted orthopedic devices, their manufacturer, and where to find and how to use identifying numbers in such implants can assist in the identification process when traditional methods are not applicable. Orthopedic device manufacturers are required by the Safe Medical Devices Act of 1990 and the FDA Modernization Act of 1997 to track permanently implanted devices. Manufacturer information on orthopedic devices associates the orthopedic surgeon who implanted the device with the patient. By providing a current list of the most common orthopedic device manufacturers in the U.S.A. and the associated contact information, investigators will have updated tools for the individuation process. Despite numerous complicating factors regarding how device data are tracked, the information presented here can assist forensic professionals with obtaining presumptive and/or positive identifications.

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