[Answered]What is ‘virtual autopsy’? Discuss various advantages and disadvantages of virtual autopsy.

Demand of the question

Introduction. What is virtual autopsy?

Body. It’s advantages and disadvantages.

Conclusion. Way forward.

 Virtual autopsy is a virtual alternative to a traditional autopsy, conducted with scanning and imaging technology. In a virtual autopsy, doctors use radiation to examine the innards to reach a conclusion about the cause of death. A CT scan or an MRI machine could be used, in the same way that they are used to scan a living human’s body.

Advantages of a virtual autopsy:

  1. Virtual autopsy is a non invasive technique where non-intrusive human autopsies are performed by using a CT Scanner to obtain a detailed view of the body.
  2. Virtual Autopsy creates digital and permanent records of the body, making it easier for pathologists and clinicians to communicate with each other.
  3. Real samples are hard to transport and share, while the digital image of the body can be shared electronically among medical professionals and experts and can be stored for future retrieval and re-examination.
  4. Doctors can conduct a Virtual Autopsy remotely. This means that hospitals centres with CT scanners can take advantage of Virtual Autopsy even though they may not have an in-house pathologist.
  5. The legal system can also benefit from this technology as the 3-dimensional images can easily be shown in courtrooms and spare people from having to look at the traditional autopsies’ gruesome pictures of the victim’s body. The images from a Virtual Autopsy can be made interactive, helping the judge and jury understand some technical facts.
  6. Virtual Autopsy can prove to be cheaper than conventional autopsies in some cases, with fewer resources needed and simpler to perform.
  7. A Virtual Autopsy leaves the body intact, so it would not add to the grief of the victim’s family. This also overcomes the obstacles presented by religions that forbid cutting of the deceased.
  8. A Virtual Autopsy is also a good method to contain/eliminate cross contamination and infection, as all deceased are scanned in a body bag. Virtual Autopsy lowers the risk of contaminating pathologists and other medical personnel.

Disadvantages of a Virtual autopsy:

  1. Virtual autopsy is expensive and include high equipment and technology costs.
  2. Virtual autopsy need skills and training to deduce from the autopsy results. Lack of experience is a disadvantage.
  3. Virtual autopsy is a lengthy procedure which include taking CT scan and MRI with result may take 2-3 days to come, while traditional autopsy take less time.
  4. Virtual autopsy is new and is not fully accurate and thus may lead to false diagnosis and judgements.
  5. Merging data from multiple techniques will always result in some loss of precision. A reliance on imagery alone may lead to omissions.
  6. No proper validation of the method has been made using closely prepared prospective studies.

The process of a standard autopsy can damage or destroy evidence of the cause and manner of death due to the elaborate, intense and timely surgical procedure. In light of this unfortunate and common issue, a new technology has been recently and particularly developed to eliminate hands-on autopsies i.e. virtual autopsy, which have a lot of potential applications.

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