Autopsy Sans Pointy Things

By Deane Barker on December 7, 2003

Is virtual autopsy a forensic benefit?: There’s a new trend in forensic science towards using technology to provide a “virtual autopsy” — an examination of the body without touching it.

Thali said technicians use advanced computed tomography — CT scans — to get an overview of the body, then follow that up with magnetic resonance imaging for details of organs, muscles and soft tissue.

Three-dimensional surface scanning provides a picture of the outside of the body. All the images can then be merged on the computer, giving investigators a picture of the entire body that can be stored on a computer, e-mailed to others for a second opinion or even posted on a Web site, Thali said.

CSI is going to get really boring next season.