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Autopsy: "The Y-Incision"

  • The world is full of interesting things in life, some more exciting than others while some things of interests are a bit more dirtier than others.

    Take the case of a Female Sudden death victim, passed away just the night prior, cause of death is uncertain since an external examination of the body showed no signs trauma, bruising (other than the expected blood pooling after death), foul play or noticeable disease are equally not present.


    This brings us to where we are now, the need for an internal examination to decide what happened to this young lady, that caused a healthy individual to just suddenly pass away.

    One thing you should expect to find is Rigor mortis, which usually sets in a few hours after death and usually begins in the limbs.


    The first step to any autopsy, is the post mortem Incision. Now there are 3 ways to make this incision, the "I-Incision", the most commonly used in the US, The "Y-Incision" and last but not least, the "Modified Y-Incision". In this case, we're use the Y-Incision. The Y-Incision is completed by making a cut from both your shoulders until they meet in the middle of  your sternum, where a singular line is made, that continues the incision, where the first two lines left off, and it usually runs past the belly button.


    As your slowly cutting through the first layer of skin and tissue with your scalpel, you'll notice the yellow spongy stuff that lies beneath the skin. That would be your body fat, in a living person, its white but in death, it usually becomes yellow.

    Body fat has a bad rap, but in reality, you’d die without it. Your body fat stores crucial energy, provides insulation, protects your internal organs and even helps hold your cells together. Too much of it, is when it begins to harm your body.

    So the skin has been peeled back, so now its time to continue the Y-Incision by cutting through the fat tissue slowly and this is done very easily since the body fat is pretty easy to cut through. As we begin to cut through the belly fat (in the belly area, not the Chest area), we can see that compared to her upper chest area which only  had a small layer of fat, her belly area is the exact opposite and requires a bit more time to cut through, since it has excessive fat, a larger layer of fat. This gives us an clue about her body, it tells us that she led a sedentary lifestyle in her final years, meaning, she didn't exercise, workout or eat healthy. she may not have been obese but she was beginning to show the early signs of an unchecked unhealthy living habits, which would have resulted in obesity, later in life. Perhaps an unhealthy living routine played a part in her untimely, sudden death? Maybe.

    As we finish off cutting through the fat and pulling it away, the next layer of your body will come into view, your muscle tissue. Now this is where it gets a bit more complex and not for squeamish. As you clear the fat away, you may see some excess blood, its normal. At this point, most of the stomach and chest muscle is exposed, you simply cant start slicing up the muscle tissue, the Y-Incision has fully exposed the human body's stomach and  chest area.

    First off, we must locate the rib cage, figure out where the rib bones are and once the individual rib bones are located, we now begin to cut straight lines around the bones, and we do that to every rib bone until the entire rib cage is completed. Now comes a part that people cant stand seeing, breaking the rib cage. We are going to use a special set of shears, called the rib shears to individually break every rib bone until the entire rib cage is completed. Once this is completed, and the rib cage is removed, the body's organs will be fully exposed and the next step of the autopsy is ready to begin: Dissection Examination.

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