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Ann Adv Automot Med. 2011;55:169-79.

Lateral neck injury assessments in side impact using post mortem human subject tests.

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  • 1Department of Neurosurgery, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI VA Medical Center, Milwaukee, WI.


Current neck injury criteria are based on matching upper cervical spine injuries from piglet tests to airbag deployment loads and pairing kinematics from child dummies. These "child-based" scaled data together with adult human cadaver tolerances in axial loading are used to specify neck injury thresholds in axial compression and tension, and flexion and extension moment about the occipital condyles; no thresholds are specified for any other force or moment including lateral bending. The objective of this study was to develop a testing methodology and to determine the lateral bending moment injury threshold under coronal loading. Post mortem human subjects (PMHS) were used. Specimens consisted of whole body and isolated head-neck complexes with intact musculature. Intact specimen positioning included: sitting PMHS upright on a rigid seat, supporting the torso by a plate, maintaining Frankfurt plane horizontal. Isolated head-neck complexes were fixed at T1 with the occiput connected via a custom apparatus to a testing device to induce lateral bending motion. Head angular and linear accelerations and angular velocities were computed using a pyramid nine accelerometer package on the head; specimen-specific physical properties including center of gravity and moments of inertia in the three-dimensions; and equations of equilibrium. These data were used to determine neck loads at the occipital condyles. No specimens sustained injuries, identified by palpation, x-rays, CT, and autopsy. Results from 24 tests indicated that PMHS head-neck complexes can tolerate 75 Nm of coronal moment at low axial load without failure, and this level may be used as an initial estimate of the injury reference value under lateral loading to the human head-neck complex.

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