Sex determination from femoral head diameters in black Malawians

  • PS Igbigbi
  • BC Msamati


Objectives: To determine the sex of black Malawians from femoral head diameters.
Design: A retrospective study on patients investigated in three x-ray departments.
Setting: Radiographs were collected from the archives of Queen Elizabeth Central, Chikwawa and Balaka hospitals.
Subject: X-ray films of 496 pelves of adult black patients aged 18-70 years were studied. Main outcome measure: Femoral diameters were used to determine sex using the identification (IP) and demarking (DP) points.
Results: The mean diameter of male femoral heads was significantly greater (P = 0.001) than in females and the IP was significantly higher (P = 0.001) in males than in females. The IP of Malawian males was comparable to southwestern Nigerian males. More female bones were identified because the mean head diameter of male femurs fell within the range of diameters that fail to identify sex. The DP identified sex
of a lower percentage of femurs when compared to the IP. However, both parameters also identified sex of a lower percentage of femurs when compared to those of Nigerians.
Conclusion: The femoral head diameters determined sex in adult black Malawians using the IP and DP points. In medico-legal cases where sophisticated methods of sex determination is lacking, these simple methods should be recommended especially in developing countries.

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eISSN: 0012-835X