Applicability of forensic facial approximation in the recognition process of unclaimed victims


  • Julia Gabriela Dietrichkeit Pereira USP - University of São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto Medical School, Pathology and Legal Medicine Graduation Program. PhD Student (Forensic Odontology). Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo, Brazil. ORCID 0000-0003-1129-0755
  • Marco Aurelio Guimarães USP - University of São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto Medical School. Associate Professor (Legal Medicine). Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo, Brazil.
  • Ricardo Henrique Alves Silva Professor of Forensic Odontology, Ribeirão Preto School of Dentistry - University of São Paulo


Forensic Dentistry, Image Processing, Computer-Assisted, Imaging, three-dimensional, Forensic Anthropology



Background: Identifying bodies in a state of putrefaction, skeletonization or mutilation is often difficult. In these cases, it is possible to use auxiliary methods such as forensic facial approximation, considering the possibility of recognition by a relative or acquaintance, helping to obtain ante-mortem data for the identification process. The aims of the present study were to evaluate the capacity of recognition of individuals from digital facial approximation and to verify the association between the level of understanding of the issue by evaluators and the recognition success index. Methods: 16 skulls with previous photographic records were selected and then utilized for three-dimensional approximation using the digital technique, scanned by photogrammetry, and reconstructed by computerized method using open-source software. Twenty evaluators tried to recognize the facial approximation performed from images present in the photospreads. Results: The mean overall score was 23.75%, and it was observed that in only five approximations (31.24%) the option of correct recognition of the victim was the one that obtained the highest number of selections. False positives and negatives corresponded, respectively, to 11.56% and 12.5%. Conclusions: It can be concluded that the methodology can provide recognition albeit in low numbers, and permitting the acquisition of ante-mortem data for the proper process of human identification through primary methods.


Keywords: Forensic Dentistry; Image Processing, Computer-Assisted; Imaging, three-dimensional; Forensic Anthropology.




How to Cite

Pereira, J. G. D., Guimarães, M. A., & Silva, R. H. A. (2021). Applicability of forensic facial approximation in the recognition process of unclaimed victims. The Journal of Forensic Odonto-Stomatology - JFOS, 39(3), 30: 40. Retrieved from



Facial Reconstruction