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J Biomech. 2005 Aug;38(8):1694-701.

Evaluation of the intervertebral neck injury criterion using simulated rear impacts.

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Biomechanics Research Laboratory, Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, Yale University School of Medicine, 333 Cedar St., P.O. Box 208071, New Haven, CT, 06520-8071, USA.


The Intervertebral Neck Injury Criterion (IV-NIC) is based on the hypothesis that intervertebral motion beyond the physiological limit may injure spinal soft tissues during whiplash, while the Neck Injury Criterion (NIC) hypothesizes that sudden changes in spinal fluid pressure may cause neural injury. Goals of the present study, using a biofidelic whole cervical spine model with muscle force replication, were to correlate IV-NIC with soft-tissue injury, determine the IV-NIC injury threshold, and compare IV-NIC and NIC. Using a bench-top apparatus, rear-impacts were simulated at 3.5, 5, 6.5, and 8 g horizontal accelerations of the T1 vertebra. Pre- and post-whiplash flexibility tests measured the soft tissue injury threshold, i.e. significant increases in the intervertebral neutral zone (NZ) or range of motion (ROM) above corresponding baseline values. Extension IV-NIC peaks correlated well with NZ and ROM increases at C0-C1 and at C3-C4 through C7-T1 (r=0.64 and 0.62 respectively, p<0.001). Average IV-NIC injury thresholds (95% confidence limits) varied among the intervertebral levels and ranged between 1.5 (1.1, 1.9) at C5-C6 and 3.4 (2.4, 4.4) at C7-T1. The NIC injury threshold was 8.7 (7.7, 9.7) m2/s2, substantially less than the proposed threshold of 15 m2/s2. Results support the use of IV-NIC for determining the cervical spine injury threshold and injury severity. Advantages of IV-NIC include the ability to predict the intervertebral level, mode, severity, and time of the cervical spine soft-tissue injury.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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