University of Oulu

Heli Maijanen, Juho-Antti Junno, Asla Keisu, Jaakko Niinimäki, Petri Lehenkari, Petteri Oura, Sex estimation from knee breadth dimensions in a Finnish population, Legal Medicine, Volume 51, 2021, 101873, ISSN 1344-6223,

Sex estimation from knee breadth dimensions in a Finnish population

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Author: Maijanen, Heli1; Junno, Juho-Antti1,2,3; Keisu, Asla2,3;
Organizations: 1Faculty of Humanities, Department of Archaeology, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Medical Research Center Oulu, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
3Faculty of Medicine, Cancer and Translational Medicine Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
4Faculty of Medicine, Research Unit of Medical Imaging, Physics and Technology, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
5Center for Life Course Health Research, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
6Department of Forensic Medicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
7Forensic Medicine Unit, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.7 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-05-14


Sex estimation is an important part of osteological analysis of skeletons and forensic identification process. Traditionally cranial and pelvic traits are utilized for accurate sex estimation. However, post-cranial measurements have also been proven to accurately estimate sex especially from robust bones such as the femur. In this study, we investigated the potential of knee breadth dimensions in sex estimation in a Finnish population. To conduct this study we utilized a study sample (n = 1654) belonging to the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966. All individuals were 46 years of age at the time of the examination. Three knee breadth dimensions were measured from subjects' knee posteroanterior radiographs: femoral biepicondylar breadth (FBEB), mediolateral breadth of the femoral condyles (FCML), and mediolateral breadth of the tibial plateau (TPML). Sex estimation was performed using logistic regression. The study clearly demonstrated that all three measurements were different between males and females. Sectioning points for individual knee breadth measurements were 82.9 mm for FBEB, 76.6 mm for FCML and 75.4 mm for TPML. The classification rates ranged from 90.9% to 93.6%. The less commonly used measurements of FCML and TPML showed higher accuracy than FBEB in sex estimation. Our study confirmed that knee breadths can be successfully utilized to improve sex estimation in cases where the skeleton is only partially preserved and other major components of sex estimation are absent. We can also provide new standards for sex estimation from the knee joint in a Finnish population.

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Series: Legal medicine
ISSN: 1344-6223
ISSN-E: 1873-4162
ISSN-L: 1344-6223
Volume: 51
Article number: 101873
DOI: 10.1016/j.legalmed.2021.101873
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 616 Other humanities
3126 Surgery, anesthesiology, intensive care, radiology
Funding: NFBC1966 received financial support from University of Oulu Grant no. 24000692, Oulu University Hospital Grant no. 24301140, ERDF European Regional Development Fund Grant no. 539/2010 A31592.
Copyright information: © 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (