How do you differentiate between antemortem and postmodern injuries? For the added twist value 👀
Before we start, lets have some basic definitions. Antemortem injuries occurs before death, it is usually indicated by signs of healing. Perimortem injuries are those that occur at or near the time of death, with no evidence of healing. Postmortem injuries occur after death, also with no evidence of healing.
Differentiating between the types/timeline of injuries is mainly studied in the field of forensic anthropology, dealing with skeletal trauma.
The healing process of injuries happens almost immediately after it occurs. Evidence of the healing process on skeletal fractures can show as early as after 1 week after the injury. Between week 1 and 3, the fracture edges will remold and rounded, and by week 6 a bony callus will form. Healing rates will of course depends on facts such as overall health and nutritional status of the person injured. Anthropologist can use bones to basically figure out history trauma on the body: history of abuse or accidental trauma, history of nutrition, indication of poverty etc. Fun fact, antemortem injuries/fractures can help with confirming identity of an unknown person through presence of plates/pins (which might have serial numbers recorded in medial charts).
Perimortem trauma is important for reconstructing the events that occurs near the time of death, while postmortem trauma is important to determine if the injuries are caused to conceal some information about the crime (or from opportunistic local wildlife feasting on free food). With perimortem fractures, the person died before healing take place, but the fracture should still show signs of the biomechanics of healing starting similar to antemortem fractures. Peri- and post-mortem trauma is different from antemortem trauma since there is no sign of healing. Bones are elastic while alive, and gets dry and brittle after death in a process called plastic deformation. This means that perimortem bone fractures tends to splinter, while postertem breaks shatter in a more regular shape.
Moving away from bones and onto bruising. Bruises is a discolouration of the skin when blood vessels/capillaries are damaged by trauma, letting seeps/hemorrhage. Since bruises accompanies different types of wounds, usually associated with blunt trauma, so they can provide information on their causation and help with the reconstruction of events leading up to death. Bruises are dated/aged differently depending on where it is on the body. A deep bruise in the thigh muscle might not appear for a day or two, while a bruise over a bony prominence and where tissue is loose (ie near the eyes) will appear and swell very quickly. Postmortem injuries tend to have a yellowish brown, kind of bloodless appearance, lacking vital reaction due to the absence of blood flow after death.
Looking at postmortem injuries can be difficult, and trauma on the body might still appear due to resuscitation efforts or from the way the body is handled after death. This is what Watson can pull up online, hopefully there is some useful info here. Happy writing!