Accuracy of three age determination X-ray methods on the left hand-wrist: A systematic review and meta-analysis

S. Serinelli, V. Panetta, P. Pasqualetti, D. Marchetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Age estimation of living individuals often represents a forensic challenge with important legal and social implications. In an effort to better understand the accuracy of the methods of Greulich and Pyle (GP), Tanner-Whitehouse (TW) and Fels, a systematic review and a meta-analysis of articles published from 1956 to 20 December 2009 in the Medline and Trip databases were conducted. We only selected articles on healthy people. The meta-analysis showed that GP is not as accurate a method as TW2 or TW3 for both Caucasian people and Mongoloids, even if it is the one most often used. However, due to the very wide age estimation range, in line with what has already been established by several authors, our systematic review and meta-analysis confirmed that age estimation in living individuals cannot be considered accurate when only X-ray methods on the left hand-wrist are used, but exhaustive combinations of various procedures (i.e. physical examination, dental and skeletal methods) must also be used, as proposed and already applied by the International Study Group on Forensic Age Estimation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-133
Number of pages14
JournalLegal Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2011


  • Age determination
  • Forensic anthropology
  • Hand bones
  • Meta-analysis
  • Systematic review
  • X-ray

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects


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