Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

Share this article on:

Evaluation of Histologic Changes of the Skin in Postmortem Period

Bardale, Rajesh V. MD; Tumram, Nilesh K. MD; Dixit, Pradeep G. MD(Path), MD(FM); Deshmukh, Ashutosh Y. MD

The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology: December 2012 - Volume 33 - Issue 4 - p 357–361
doi: 10.1097/PAF.0b013e31822c8f21
Original Articles

Determination of the time of death is an important consideration in forensic practice. Many methods have been attempted to accurately and systematically determine the postmortem interval (PMI). Histologic examination of the skin or appendages is one of the methods tried by few researchers. However, no attempt had been made to analyze the histologic changes in the skin and appendages simultaneously and to compare them with PMI. We sequentially studied the histologic changes of the skin and appendages in the early PMI. The results of the present study show that the skin undergoes progressive morphological changes in the postmortem period. The epidermis and the dermis appeared normal for 6 hours after death, and after this period, degenerative changes began. By 6 to 9 hours after death, degeneration began in the dermis, and by the end of 18 hours, the dermis began to disintegrate. The sweat glands appeared normal for approximately 3 to 4 hours. For 18 hours after death, the sebaceous glands and hair follicles appeared normal, and after this period, degeneration began.

From the Department of Forensic Medicine, Government Medical College, Nagpur, Maharashtra, India.

Manuscript received March 15, 2011; accepted June 23, 2011.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Reprints: Rajesh V. Bardale, MD, Department of Forensic Medicine, Government Medical College, Hanuman Nagar, Nagpur 440003, Maharashtra, India. E-mail:

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.