What Is Forensic CT?

  • Forensic medicine refers to the use of medical technology in collecting evidence for use in court [1].
  • Forensic CT scan is the use of computed tomography (CT scan) on the body or part of the body of a deceased person.
  • The image produced by this method allows the bodies to be examined from various angles without destroying forensic evidence. Even research, observation and examination can be carried out in detail by making virtual slices (virtual autopsy) and can be reviewed over and over again.
  • A CT scanner that is used to examine dead bodies will not be used on a living body.


Picture 1: Forensic CT Scanner

How Can I Get This Examination Done And Where?

  • If necessary, the doctor will request for the examination using Request Form For Radiological Examination.
  • This examination is available in selected Ministry of Health hospitals.

What Are The Reasons For Performing A Forensic CT Scan?

  • Amongst the reasons for a forensic CT scan are to:

– Verify the identity of the deceased.

– Identify the cause of death.

– Know the cause, manner and time of death.

– Remove doubts about the cause of death.

– Demonstrate disease and disability.

– Detect, visualize and document diseases and external and internal injuries.

– Obtain samples for studies, such as the study of bacteria, abnormal tissue etc.

– Take pictures and video footage for evidence/ exhibits.

– Provide a complete report on the findings of the autopsy.

– Provide expert interpretation of the autopsy findings.

– Assist in academic studies, research and development in medicine.

– Improve expertise.

– Review the treatment of a disease.

– Legal requirement.

Types Of Forensic Cases That Require CT

  • Medico-legal Death Case/ Police.

– Autopsy of the dead body requested by the police in cases such as accidents, drowning, fires, murders and suspected death / unclear cause of death. The magistrate or police will issue an order (Form Pol. 61) to the government medical officer to conduct an autopsy.

  • Cases of Clinical Death.

– Autopsy is performed to verify the cause of death, the impact of a certain disease or injury and also for teaching and research purposes. These cases such as infectious diseases and death in the ward are not related to the police.

Is There Any ‘Fatwa’ In Islam That Allows Forensic CT?

The Fatwa Committee of the National Council for Islamic Religious Affairs, Malaysia in their 73rd meeting, held on April 4-6, 2006 has discussed virtual autopsy techniques as an alternative to autopsy. The committee has decided that the use of virtual autopsy techniques (virtual autopsy), must be given priority over currently practiced autopsy if the requirement is met [2].

How Is The Procedure Performed?

  • White body bag containing the dead body or body part will be brought into the CT scan room.
  • The radiographer will not touch or change the presentation of the body.
  • The body bag will be transferred on to the CT examination couch.
  • The radiographer will perform the scan.
  • After the scan, the body bag will be taken back by the forensic personnel on duty.
  • The acquired images will be stored in a special storage system.
  • These images will be viewed by the radiologist who will then report the examination.


  1. Forensic Radiography and the IAFR, Internal Association of Forensic Radiographers, 2010,
  2. Portal Rasmi Fatwa Malaysia, JAKIM,



Last Reviewed : 2 June 2016
Translator : Daud bin Ismail
Accreditor : Jasintha S. Sangarapillai