The Influence of Morphology on Cervical Injury Characteristics

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Abstract

Study Design.

Review of peer-reviewed literature.

Objective.

Outline the effects of neck and cervical spine morphology on soft tissue injury Potential during low velocity automotive rear impacts.

Summary of Background Data.

Automotive rear impacts are mechanical events and the response of the human head–neck complex can be thought of in biomechanical terms. This manuscript reviews evidence from peer-reviewed studies implicating occupant-related factors in the onset and severity of cervical spine soft-tissue injury.

Methods.

Effects of anatomical characteristics, head–neck and spine orientation, facet joints, and neck muscles were reviewed.

Results.

On the basis of existing biomechanically based research, the following occupant-related characteristics can influence the response of the cervical spine during automotive rear impacts: anatomical dimensions of the cervical spine, head–neck and cervical spine orientation at the time of impact, facet joint orientation, and neck muscle size and orientation.

Conclusion.

The response of the cervical spine to rear impacts can be described using biomechanical concepts. This review has identified occupant-related factors that can influence injury susceptibility and cited biomechanically related research to outline the method by which those factors affect the overall head–neck and cervical spine response in such a way as to increase the susceptibility or severity of injury for a given rear impact event.

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