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Post Mortem Imaging

UHL have been providing and developing post mortem (PM) imaging services for over 20 years. We work in conjunction with Her Majesty’s Senior Coroner for Leicester City and South Leicestershire, Professor Catherine Mason, Leicester City Council and the University of Leicester, East Midlands Forensic Pathology Unit. We routinely provide imaging services for the East Midlands and nationwide as requested.

In the last 20 years, the team have completed many research projects developing the role of post mortem computed tomography (PMCT) in suspicious and non-suspicious deaths which has resulted in over 40 publications. (A selection of our publications can be accessed here.) This work has reduced the number of invasive autopsies that are now required, with a cause of death being given in over 90% of scans.

The team are internationally renowned for their work and for setting up the first PMCT service to replace autopsy in non-suspicious death investigation in the NHS.

Professor Mason supports the services saying they are welcomed by her office as UHL continue to put families’ needs at the heart of their work. As well as religious groups that may find invasive PM examinations to be in direct challenge to their faith, there are benefits to society more broadly.

To learn more about a PMCT scan click here to see a video on you tube produced by us and the University of Leicester.



The PM imaging department offer adult and paediatric PM imaging. We regularly undertake forensic and coronial investigations using plain film x-rays, CT or MRI as appropriate.

We offer PMCT scans in the investigation of non-suspicious or traumatic deaths as an alternative to an invasive autopsy.

We also have experience in the use of imaging in mass fatality incidents.


PMCT instead of invasive autopsy

PMCT scans have replaced the need for the majority of invasive autopsies in non-suspicious deaths referred to UHL. PMCT may not suitable for all deceased and the pathologists will review each case and advise whether PMCT is likely to be sufficient for the investigation.

The service is run by pathology and imaging staff. Pathologists decide which deceased are referred for a scan based on the circumstances of death and medical information. Some deceased may need catheters (small tubes) inserted into their necks to enable special scans to be completed. This preparation is completed by staff in the mortuary. The patients are then scanned.


For recently bereaved families

Any request for PM imaging must come from a Coroner. We are unable to accept requests for scans from families.

 If you are recently bereaved and are seeking a PMCT scan instead of an invasive autopsy, please contact your local Coroner’s office. They can contact to us at PMRadiology@uhl-tr.nhs.uk or on 0116 258 6890.

 Advice on what to do when someone dies can be found at https://www.gov.uk/after-a-death


PMCT training

We provide training for radiographers and radiologists interested in PMCT. These courses, run by consultant radiologists and radiographers with many years experience in PM imaging, share our knowledge and experience of PMCT to enable others to provide similar services. 

We provide training courses for radiographers wanting to learn how to do PMCT scans. Radiographers are taught the theory of PM imaging and how to scan deceased including angiography and ventilation. Further information can be found here.

 We also run a 3 day course for radiologists (including registrars) wanting to report PMCT. Further information can be found here.

 We are developing PMCT training for radiology registrars, please contact us at the email below for further details.

 Bespoke training can be provided, tailored to an individual’s or an organisation’s needs.

 Please contact us at PMRadiology@uhl-tr.nhs.uk.


Supporting other organisations setting up PM imaging services

We have supported several NHS Trusts and organisations setting up PM imaging services. This has ranged from providing some insight into how our services are run to setting up their services for them.

We are happy to help any organisation trying to set up PM imaging services.


Contact us

To contact us, please email PMRadiology@uhl-tr.nhs.uk or call us on 0116 258 6890.