Research Papers

Effects of Anterior Shear Displacement Rate on the Structural Properties of the Porcine Cervical Spine

[+] Author and Article Information
Kaitlin M. Gallagher, Samuel J. Howarth

Department of Kinesiology, University of Waterloo, 200 University Avenue West, Waterloo, ON, N2L 3G1, Canada

Jack P. Callaghan1

Department of Kinesiology, University of Waterloo, 200 University Avenue West, Waterloo, ON, N2L 3G1, Canadacallagha@uwaterloo.ca


Corresponding author.

J Biomech Eng 132(9), 091004 (Aug 16, 2010) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4001885 History: Received January 15, 2010; Revised April 30, 2010; Posted May 27, 2010; Published August 16, 2010; Online August 16, 2010

While the individual tissues of the vertebral joint demonstrate viscoelastic properties, the global viscoelastic properties of the lumbar vertebral joint are not well established. This study investigated how changes in displacement rate influenced the mechanical response of the porcine cervical spine (a surrogate or model for the human lumbar spine) exposed to acute anterior shear failure loading. Thirty porcine cervical spine specimens (15 C3-C4 and 15 C5-C6) were placed under a 1600 N compressive load and subsequently loaded in anterior shear to failure at one of three randomly assigned displacement rates (1 mm/s, 4 mm/s, or 16 mm/s). Ultimate anterior shear force, ultimate displacement, average stiffness, and energy stored until failure were calculated. Load rate in the elastic region was also calculated to compare the load rates used in this study to those used in previous studies. Changes in displacement rate affected the C3-C4 and C5-C6 specimens differently. C5-C6 specimens tested at 16 mm/s had an ultimate force that was 28% and 23% higher than at 1 (p=0.0215) and 4 mm/s (p=0.0461), respectively. The average stiffness to failure of the C5-C6 specimens tested at 16 mm/s was 52% higher than at 4 mm/s (p=0.0289). No such differences were found for the C3-C4 specimens. An increase in the anterior shear displacement rate did not necessarily demonstrate viscoelasticity of the vertebral joint. Specimen intervertebral levels were affected differently by changes in anterior shear displacement rate, which may have been a result of anatomical and postural differences between the two levels. Future studies should further investigate the effect of displacement rate on the spine and the inconsistencies between different specimen levels.

Copyright © 2010 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

X-ray of a C5-C6 functional spinal unit. Left and right facet angles are denoted by θL and θR, respectively.

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Figure 2

Materials testing system. Anterior shear is produced by the linear actuators moving outward.

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Figure 3

An example of a force-displacement curve for a typical specimen during the acute failure test (C5-C6, tested at 4 mm/s). Note that average anterior shear stiffness was calculated by taking the slope of a line drawn from the force at zero displacement to the ultimate force and energy to failure was the area beneath the force-displacement curve up to the ultimate load.

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Figure 4

Mean load rate (with standard deviation bars). Asterisks ( ∗) denotes significant differences between the displacement rates.

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Figure 5

Mean ultimate anterior shear load (with standard deviation bars) at three displacement rates. Asterisks ( ∗) denote significant differences between the loading rates for the C5-C6 specimens.

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Figure 6

Sagittal X-ray of a C3-C4 FSU (left) failed at 16 mm/s displacement rate and photograph of the C3 vertebrae from the same FSU with the inferior facets facing up (right). Note the bilateral pars interarticularis fracture and inferior endplate damage of the superior vertebrae.




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