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Exploring the Role of Lateral Bending Postures and Asymmetric Loading on Cervical Spine Compression Responses

[+] Author Affiliations
Daniel E. Toomey, Matthew J. Mason, Warren N. Hardy, King H. Yang, James M. Kopacz

Wayne State University, Detroit, MI

Chris Van Ee

Design Research Engineering LLC, Novi, MI

Paper No. IMECE2009-12911, pp. 375-382; 8 pages
  • ASME 2009 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 2: Biomedical and Biotechnology Engineering
  • Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA, November 13–19, 2009
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4375-8 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3863-1
  • Copyright © 2009 by ASME


In an effort to expand the understanding of head and neck injury dynamics in rollover type crashes, this investigation explores the influence of lateral bending postures and asymmetric compressive loads on the head and cervical spine. Drop testing of five male cadaver head-neck complexes was conducted with either an initial lateral bending posture onto a horizontal impact surface or with an initial neutral posture onto an obliquely oriented surface resulting in lateral bending. Five specimens were dropped from 0.45 and 0.53 m, with resulting impact speeds ranging from 2.9 to 3.25 m/s. Radiography of the specimens was performed pre- and post-testing to document any fractures. Three of the five specimens sustained compressive cervical vertebral fractures at lower neck loads ranging between 1518 N and 3472 N. Fracture patterns did suggest that the asymmetric postures and loading resulted in asymmetric fracture patterns. Overall compressive neck injury dynamics and tolerances appear similar to previous studies of purely sagittal plane dynamics based on these initial results. This study lays a foundation for quantifying the non-sagittal plane compressive response and tolerance of the cervical spine.

Copyright © 2009 by ASME



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