A person wearing body armor may suffer less extensive injuries than behind armour blunt trauma (BABT, see previous section) after being struck by a bullet. Backface signature injury is such an injury.


Mechanism: The energy from the bullet's impact and vest deformation focally exceeds the tensile strength of the skin and it tears. The energy required is less than that which causes more extensive blunt trauma (BABT).


Criteria for backface signature injury - all of the following:

(1) The injury resulted from impact of a bullet into body armor.

(2) The bullet did not penetrate the armor.

(3) The injury is localized (not the extensive blunt trauma seen with BABT).

(4) The injury consists of a skin laceration that produces an open wound.


When examining these wounds, the extent and depth should be documented.


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