Simulation of Whiplash Trauma Using Whole Cervical Spine Specimens

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Study Design.Whiplash injuries were studied in an experiment using whole cervical spine specimen.Objectives.To develop a whiplash trauma model that uses a whole cervical spine specimen, and to show the feasibility and unique features of such a model.Summary of Background Data.Whiplash trauma has been simulated in biomechanical experiments using volunteers, whole body cadavers, animals, anthropometric dummies, and mathematic models. These experiments require large facilities, are expensive, and provide limited information about cervical spine injuries.Methods.An alternate approach, in which a benchtop sled accelerating apparatus is used to produce whiplash trauma, has been developed to study such trauma in whole cervical spine specimens. Several transducers were developed to monitor soft tissue injuries during the trauma. The model also provides quantification of injuries to the cervical spine.Results.To assess the feasibility and usefulness of the model, a specimen was traumatized, and the following parameters were monitored during the trauma: linear acceleration of the sled, linear and angular acceleration of the head surrogate, displacements of the head surrogate, loads at T1 and C1 vertebrae, and linear deformations of capsular ligaments and vertebral artery.Conclusions.This model, which incorporates a fresh cadaveric whole human cervical spine specimen, can simulate whiplash trauma effectively and is useful in providing a comprehensive set of clinically relevant information during the trauma. This model gives insight into the complex events and interactions that cause the injuries that occur during whiplash trauma.

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