Fractography of Long Bones with High-Velocity Projectile Trauma

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Kimberleigh Lillard
Angi M. Christensen


Previous studies of bone fractography have examined only cases of blunt trauma. Here we assess whether fracture surface features are also found on bones subjected to high-velocity projectile trauma. Civil War–era long bones were assessed for the presence of fracture surface features identified in previous studies. Of 60 bones examined, which included all major long bones, fracture surface features were identified on 57 (95%). Arrest ridges and cantilever curl were located most often and were observed on most specimens (85% and 72% of cases, respectively). Bone mirror was observed, though less frequently (2% of cases); no instances of bone hackle or wake features were found. There does not appear to be a relationship between the number of observed features and bone type or projectile type. These results demonstrate that fractography features are observed in fractures related to high-velocity projectile trauma, but additional research is needed to understand the relationship between projectile trauma and the location and orientation of these features.

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