Investigation into the relationship between blunt impacts and bruising

  • Heather Ilona Black

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Bruising is an injury commonly observed within suspect cases of assault or abuse, however their interpretation is purely visual. Although the biology of bruising is known, how a blunt impact initiates bruising and influences its severity is not understood. Furthermore, the standard method of documenting bruising with colour photography is known to have limitations which in turn influence the already subjective analysis of bruise age and severity.Following ethical approval, this research aimed to address these problems through characterisation of a standardised blunt impact which was delivered to 18 volunteers. The resulting bruise was then imaged using 3 different photography techniques (colour, cross polarised (CP) and infrared (IR)) to determine if colour photography could be improved upon, whilst colour patterns using the L*a*b* colour model were taken from both colour and CP images to determine whether a measured colour timeline could be created to aid bruise age determination.Results showed that although no photography technique held any significant advantage over any other, CP provided greater image contrast than colour photography whilst IR imaging produced a clearer image of bruising over the initial stages of bruise formation. Although a general trend was seen for the measured colour patterns, they could not be characteristically attributed to any group of people, thus no colour timeline could be produced. Impact results demonstrated a characteristic tissue response which was strongly influenced by anthropometric features. These features also appeared to influence the severity of resultant bruising observed.It was concluded that both the photography and colour pattern methods assessed may not be the most appropriate for future research, whilst the potential variability of bruise severity between individuals was successfully visualised Therefore to gain a complete understanding of bruising, a detailed approach which combines impact, tissue response and the resulting bruise appearance is required.
Date of Award28 Sep 2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SponsorsUniversity of Strathclyde
SupervisorPhil Riches (Supervisor) & Sylvie Coupaud (Supervisor)

Cite this