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The Fourth Incision: A Cosmetic Autopsy Incision Technique

Patowary, Amarjyoti MD

The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology: March 2010 - Volume 31 - Issue 1 - p 37-41
doi: 10.1097/PAF.0b013e3181c1e7e8
Original Article

Autopsy procedure includes thorough external examination as well as internal examination including opening of all the body cavities for proper visualization of all the visceral organs. As such, there remains incision marks with stitches which harts the sentiment of the already traumatized relatives of the deceased. Moreover, it looks odd especially in cases of otherwise healthy dead bodies.

So, autopsy incisions should be such that, we can get maximum possible visualization of the body cavities, particularly the thorax and abdomen, and at the same time the incision as well as the stitch marks are also hidden.

This article is aimed to describe few modifications in the autopsy incisions for opening the thorax and abdomen and also proper visualization of the neck structures during autopsy where the incisions and the stitches are kept hidden.

From the Department of Forensic Medicine, Assam Medical College, Dibrugarh, Assam.

Manuscript received March 15, 2007; accepted June 4, 2007.

Figures can be viewed in color at

Reprints: Amarjyoti Patowary, MD, Department of Forensic Medicine, Assam Medical College, Dibrugarh, Assam. Email:

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.