You could be reading the full-text of this article now if you...

If you have access to this article through your institution,
you can view this article in

An Experimental Model of Tool Mark Striations by a Serrated Blade in Human Soft Tissues

Jacques, Rebekah MD*†; Kogon, Stanley DDS†‡; Shkrum, Michael MD*†

American Journal of Forensic Medicine & Pathology:
doi: 10.1097/PAF.0000000000000078
Original Articles

Abstract: Tool mark analysis is a method of matching a weapon with the injury it caused. In a homicidal stabbing using a serrated knife, a stab wound that involves a cartilage may leave striations from the serration points on the blade edge. Assessing tissue striations is a means of identifying the weapon as having a serrated blade. This prospective study examines the possibility that similar striations may be produced in human soft tissues. Using tissues taken at the time of hospital-consented autopsies, stab wound tracks were assessed in a variety of human tissues (aorta, skin, liver, kidney, and cardiac and skeletal muscle). Stab wounds were produced postmortem with similar serrated and smooth-edged blades. The walls of the stab wounds were exposed, documented by photography and cast with dental impression material. Striations were identified by naked-eye examination in the skin and aorta. Photodocumentation of fresh tissue was best achieved in the aorta. Striations were not identified in wound tracks produced by the smooth-edged blade. Three blinded forensic pathologists were assessed for their ability to detect striations in photographs of wound tracks and had substantial interobserver agreement (κ = 0.76) identifying striations. This study demonstrates that tool mark striations can be present in some noncartilaginous human tissues.

Author Information

From the *Department of Pathology, London Health Sciences Centre; †Western University; and ‡School of Dentistry, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, London, Ontario, Canada

Manuscript received July 24, 2013; accepted October 27, 2013.

Financial support was received through the Pathology Internal Funds for Academic Development.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Reprints: Michael Shkrum, MD, Department of Pathology, London Health Sciences Centre, University Hospital, 339 Windermere Rd, London, Ontario, Canada N6A 5A5. E-mail:

© 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.