A Proposed Scheme for Classifying Pediatric Rib Head Fractures Using Case Examples

Deborrah C. Pinto, Jennifer C. Love, Sharon M. Derrick, Jason M. Wiersema, Marcella Donaruma-Kwoh, Christopher S. Greeley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Pediatric rib head fractures are typically described as "posterior" or "costovertebral," terms lacking specificity. To resolve this issue, a scheme was developed to describe the location of rib head fractures observed in a pediatric forensic population. The scheme uses three anatomical landmarks, terminus (tip), tubercle, and costovertebral articular surface to divide the rib head into two subregions, costovertebral and costotransverse. Examples of five cases of infants with rib head fractures are presented using this scheme. Forty-eight rib head fractures were observed in these infants with the following frequencies: 56% (three infants) at the terminus; 21% (three infants) in the costovertebral subregion; 21% (one infant) at the costovertebral articular facet; and 2% (one infant) in the costotransverse subregion. Due to the small number of cases assessed, statistical analyses could not be performed; however, the data demonstrate the variation in distribution of pediatric rib head fractures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)112-117
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Forensic Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Forensic anthropology
  • Forensic science
  • Paravertebral fracture
  • Pediatric trauma
  • Posterior rib fracture
  • Rib head fractures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Genetics


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