A Finite Element Model of Second Cervical Vertebra (Axis) to Study Hangman's Fracture

M. Haghpanahi, S. Sohrabi, and A. Gorginzadeh (Iran)


Cervical spine, finite element model, axis, hangman s fracture, CT images, stress pattern


The upper cervical spine of the human is so susceptible to injury in trauma. Advancements in injury prevention and treatment depend on correct understanding of mechanical behavior of the cervical spine. Finite element models of single vertebra are used to study the pattern of fracture. In this study, we present a three-dimensional geometrical and mechanical finite element model of the second cervical vertebra (axis) of the human cadaver for studying hangman s fracture . This anatomically accurate model was developed using computed tomography (CT) images. The detailed model included anterior arch, odontoid process, superior/inferior articular facets, transverse processes, posterior arch and spinous process which were meshed using ten-nodded tetrahedral elements. Using the material properties from literature, the finite element model was analyzed under two configurations of loading and boundary conditions to predict fracture location by studying the stress pattern. These configurations were simulated according to the situations which clinically result in hangman s fracture. We considered the conditions which occur in judicial hanging and vehicle accidents. The results provide evidence that our simulated loading conditions would lead to hangman s fracture.

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