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Reading: Unreported often confronted postmortem artifact; “Postmortem Contact Maceration”


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Unreported often confronted postmortem artifact; “Postmortem Contact Maceration”


Harshana Mahendra Kumara Senanayake

teaching hospital Anuradapuraya, LK
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Some dead bodies kept in the mortuary (which were not recovered from water) had shown pale, slightly edematous and wrinkled patchy areas of skin with different shapes visible similar macerated skin found in bodies recovered from water. They were seen beneath the tight clothes and when separating body parts which were in contact for some period. Such areas can be identified as a postmortem artifact due to maceration because those skin patches are pale, wrinkled, swollen and similar appearance of macerated skin of living patients due to prolonged contact ith body fluids and dead bodies recovered from water. These skin areas are seen when there is wetness due to sweat or wet clothes and after considerable postmortem time period. Therefore, such area can be named as “Contact maceration”. Different shapes are due to tight contact surfaces between two body parts or body part and a wet clothe. Those pale areas can suggest the close contact posture of adjacent body parts after death for a considerable period. “Contact maceration” had been observed in axillar, groin, neck, beneath wet clothes, front aspect of elbow, back of knee and any body part if a limb was found over that area. Development of contact maceration may be helpful to suggest time since death and time period of contact between two surfaces. Contact maceration and maceration due to drowning are different because in drowning maceration is developed first in areas of thick skin. In contact maceration, any part of skin irrespective of thickness will undergo maceration due to contact and moisture while thicker skin areas are spared. In contact maceration, shape of pale, patchy area is equal with the contact surface of nearby moist cloth or moist body part.
How to Cite: Senanayake, H.M.K., 2018. Unreported often confronted postmortem artifact; “Postmortem Contact Maceration”. Sri Lanka Journal of Forensic Medicine, Science & Law, 9(1), p.None. DOI:
Published on 13 Jul 2018.
Peer Reviewed


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