Research Papers

Dynamic Tensile Failure Mechanics of the Musculoskeletal Neck Using a Cadaver Model

[+] Author and Article Information
Eno M. Yliniemi, David J. Nuckley, Randal P. Ching

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Applied Biomechanics Laboratory, University of Washington, 501 Eastlake Avenue E, Suite 102, Seattle, WA 98109

Joseph A. Pellettiere, Erica J. Doczy, Chris E. Perry

Biomechanics Branch, Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright-Patterson AFB, AFRL/RHPA, 2800 Q Street, Wright-Patterson AFB, OH 45433

J Biomech Eng 131(5), 051001 (Mar 20, 2009) (10 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3078151 History: Received September 28, 2007; Revised December 31, 2008; Published March 20, 2009

Although the catapult phase of pilot ejections has been well characterized in terms of human response to compressive forces, the effect of the forces on the human body during the ensuing ejection phases (including windblast and parachute opening shock) has not been thoroughly investigated. Both windblast and parachute opening shock have been shown to induce dynamic tensile forces in the human cervical spine. However, the human tolerance to such loading is not well known. Therefore, the main objective of this research project was to measure human tensile neck failure mechanics to provide data for computational modeling, anthropometric test device development, and improved tensile injury criteria. Twelve human cadaver specimens, including four females and eight males with a mean age of 50.1±9years, were subjected to dynamic tensile loading through the musculoskeletal neck until failure occurred. Failure load, failure strain, and tensile stiffness were measured and correlated with injury type and location. The mean failure load for the 12 specimens was 3100±645N, mean failure strain was 16.7±5.4%, and mean tensile stiffness was 172±54.5N/mm. The majority of injuries (8) occurred in the upper cervical spine (Oc-C3), and none took place in the midcervical region (C3–C5). The results of this study assist in filling the existing void in dynamic tensile injury data and will aid in developing improved neck injury prevention strategies.

Copyright © 2009 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Vertebrae T8–T11 were wired prior to embedding. A steel rod was inserted into the body of T10, which aided in fixing the caudal end to the aluminum plate.

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Figure 2

(a) General schematic for tensile testing. The oxygen mask and the T10 rod clamps are not shown. (b) Photograph of specimen 9 in the loading apparatus.

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Figure 3

Failure was defined by decreasing load with increasing displacement on the load-distraction curve. The circles indicate failure on these representative profiles.

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Figure 4

Frequency of first cervical AIS≥3 injury with respect to spinal level. The majority (8) of injuries occurred in the upper cervical spine (occiput-C3). There were no failures from C3 to C5.

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Figure 5

Tensile failure strain in the cervical spine is plotted with respect to the injury location. The failures in the upper cervical spine had a larger failure strain mean than the lower cervical spine.

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Figure 6

Neck tensile stiffness varied depending on the level of injury. The necks with injuries at C1–C2 were the least stiff while those with injuries at C2–C3 were the stiffest.



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