The “hypopigmented” bitemark: a clinical and histologic appraisal

Liam Robinson*, Belinda K. Bunn, Ryan Blumenthal, Herman Bernitz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


So-called “hypopigmented” bitemark patterns, commonly seen but not limited to dark skinned individuals, can be of value in forensic investigations. The process of aging bitemarks observed on skin is controversial and without guidelines. This report analyzes tissue obtained from the site of a hypopigmented bitemark using special histochemical stains for the identification of melanin pigment, and a panel of immunohistochemical markers to aid in the aging process. Histologic evaluation clearly showed that cellular changes in the hypopigmented area were indicative of wound healing that had taken place over a period of time. This validates the hypothesis that a hypopigmented bitemark is an indication of a wound inflicted some days previously. These findings have value in forensic investigations, particularly in cases of suspected long-term physical abuse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-104
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Legal Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Forensic odontology
  • Hypopigmented bitemarks
  • Microscopic analysis
  • Wound aging


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