The human cervical spine in tension: effects of frame and fixation compliance on structural responses.
ABSTRACT There is little data available on the responses of the human cervical spine to tensile loading. Such tests are mechanistically and technically challenging due to the variety of end conditions that need to be imposed and the difficulty of strong specimen fixation. As a result, spine specimens need to be tested using fairly complex, and potentially compliant, apparati in order to fully characterize the mechanical responses of each specimen. This, combined with the relatively high stiffness of human spine specimens, can result in errors in stiffness calculations. In this study, 18 specimen preparations were tested in tension. Tests were performed on whole cervical spines and on spine segments. On average, the linear stiffness of the segment preparations was 257 N/mm, and the stiffness of the whole cervical spine was 48 N/mm. The test frame was found to have a stiffness of 933 N/mm. Assembling a whole spine from a series combination of eight segments with a stiffness of 257 N/mm results in an estimated whole spine stiffness of 32.1 N/mm (32% error). The segment stiffnesses were corrected by assuming that the segment preparation stiffness is a series combination of the stiffnesses of the segment and the frame. This resulted in an average corrected segment stiffness of 356 N/mm. Taking the frame compliance into account, the whole spine stiffness is 51 N/mm. A series combination of eight segments using the corrected stiffnesses results in an estimated whole spine stiffness of 45.0 N/mm (12% error). We report both linear and nonlinear stiffness models for male spines and conclude that the compliance of the frame and the fixation must be quantified in all tension studies of spinal segments. Further, reported stiffness should be adjusted to account for frame and fixation compliance.
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ABSTRACT: Cervical spinal instability due to ligamentous injury, degenerated disc and facetectomy is a subject of great controversy. There is no analytical investigation reported on the biomechanical response of cervical spine in these respects. Parametric study on the roles of ligaments, facets, and disc nucleus of human lower cervical spine (C4-C6) was conducted for the very first time using noninvasive finite element method.A three-dimensional (3D) finite element (FE) model of the human lower cervical spine, consisted of 11,187 nodes and 7730 elements modeling the bony vertebrae, articulating facets, intervertebral disc, and associated ligaments, was developed and validated against the published data under three load configurations: axial compression; flexion; and extension. The FE model was further modified accordingly to investigate the role of disc, facets and ligaments in preserving cervical spine motion segment stability in these load configurations. The passive FE model predicted the nonlinear force displacement response of the human cervical spine, with increasing stiffness at higher loads. It also predicted that ligaments, facets or disc nucleus are crucial to maintain the cervical spine stability, in terms of sagittal rotational movement or redistribution of load. FE method of analysis is an invaluable application that can supplement experimental research in understanding the clinical biomechanics of the human cervical spine.Medical Engineering & Physics 05/2001; 23(3):155-64. · 1.78 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: A significant majority of cervical spine biomechanics studies has applied the external loading in the form of compressive force vectors. In contrast, there is a paucity of data on the tensile loading of the neck structure. These data are important as the human neck not only resists compression but also has to withstand distraction due to factors such as the anatomical characteristics and loading asymmetry. Furthermore, evidence exists implicating tensile stresses to be a mechanism of cervical spinal cord injury. Recent advancements in vehicular restraint systems such as air bags may induce tension to the neck in adverse circumstances. Consequently, this study was designed to develop experimental methodologies to determine the biomechanics of the human cervical spinal structures under distractive forces. A part-to-whole approach was used in the study. Four experimental models from 15 unembalmed human cadavers were used to demonstrate the feasibility of the methodology. Structures included isolated cervical spinal cords, intervertebral disc units, skull to T3 preparations, and intact unembalmed human cadavers. Axial tensile forces were applied, and the failure load and distraction were recorded. Stiffness and energy absorbing characteristics were computed. Maximum forces for the spinal cord specimens were the lowest (278 N +/- 90). The forces increased for the intervertebral disc (569 N +/- 54). skull to T3 (1555 N +/- 459), and intact human cadaver (3373 N +/- 464) preparations, indicating the load-carrying capacities when additional components are included to the experimental model. The experimental methodologies outlined in the present study provide a basis for further investigation into the mechanism of injury and the clinical applicability of biomechanical parameters.Medical Engineering & Physics 07/1996; 18(4):289-94. · 1.78 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The co-contraction of cervical musculature is quantitatively assessed. For the modeling procedure, electromyographic (EMG) signal and anatomical data of the neck musculature were used. EMG signals were collected from eight sites of the neck bilaterally using Ag-AgCl surface electrodes from ten adult male subjects. The subjects performed voluntary isometric contractions gradually developing to maximum efforts in flexion, extension, left lateral bending and right lateral bending. The EMG-assisted optimization modeling procedure was used to estimate muscle forces. To quantify co-contraction, muscle forces were decomposed into task subset and co-contraction subset of muscle forces. To show the degree of co-contraction, 'co-contraction ratio' was defined as the proportion of co-contraction muscle forces to total muscle forces. The ranges of co-contraction ratio are 0.08-0.16 during extension, 0.30-0.41 during flexion, 0.27-0.32 during left lateral bending, and 0.30-0.36 during right lateral bending. In all cases, co-contraction ratios increase as external moments increase. The ratios of compressive spinal loads from the co-contraction subset of muscle forces to those from total muscle forces are similar to co-contraction ratios during the whole ramp period. This study provides data demonstrating quantitative measures of the contribution of muscle co-contraction to cervical spinal loads.Medical Engineering & Physics 04/2003; 25(2):133-40. · 1.78 Impact Factor