Suspension-associated dislocation of the jaw in hanging

Joanna Glengarry, Megane Beaugeois, Lyndal Bugeja, Richard Huggins, Chris O’Donnell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleOtherpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Hanging is a common type of death, and the role of the medical investigation of such deaths by a forensic pathologist not only requires the determination of the cause of death but providing information to assist in the determination of the manner of death. The forensic pathologist should be well versed in the spectrum of injuries known to be associated with neck compression, to document injuries known to be associated with hanging, but also to identify those that are inconsistent with self-inflicted hanging or that may suggest the involvement of a third party in the death. Comprehensive identification and correct interpretation of external and internal injury are crucial for the appropriate degree of police and coroner/medical examiner investigation. We present two cases of deaths believed to be caused by self-inflicted hanging that were observed to have unexpected unilateral dislocation of the temporomandibular joint identified on routine post-mortem computed tomography, without any evidence of involvement of a third party. This injury was unexplained and had not been previously observed at our Forensic Institute nor was it identified after a review of the published biomedical research literature. Issues regarding the cause of this abnormality, possible mechanisms, and the medicolegal significance of this finding will be discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1489–1495
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Legal Medicine
Volume137
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Keywords

  • Autopsy
  • Hanging
  • Neck compression
  • Post-mortem computed tomography (PMCT)
  • Temporomandibular dislocation
  • Temporomandibular joint

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