Cervical spine posture influences fracture patterns caused by impact loading

Bruno Agostinho Hernandez, Jonathan Blackburn, Dario Cazzola, Timothy Holsgrove, Harinderjit Gill, Sabina Gheduzzi

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOther


Cervical spine fractures are frequent in impact sports, such as rugby union. The consequences of these fractures can be devastating as they can lead to paraplegia, tetraplegia and death. Many studies have been conducted to understand the injury mechanisms but the relationship between player cervical spine posture and fracture pattern is still unclear. The aim of this study was to evaluate the influence of player cervical spine posture on fracture pattern due to an impact load. Nineteen porcine cervical spines (C2 to C6) were dissected, potted in PMMA bone cement and mounted in a custom made rig. They were impacted with a mean load of 6 kN. Eight specimens were tested in an axial position, five in flexion and six in lateral bending. All specimens were micro-CT imaged (Nikon XT225 ST Scanner, Nikon Metrology, UK) before and after the tests, and the images were used to assess the fracture patterns. The injuries were classified according to Allen-Ferguson classification system by three independent observers. The preliminary results showed that the main fracture modalities were consistent with those seen clinically. The main fractures for the axial orientation were observed in C5-C6 level with fractures on the articular process and endplates. These findings support the concept that the fracture patterns are related to the spine position and give an insight for improvements on sports rules in order to reduce the risk of injury.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2017
Event25th Annual Meeting of the European Orthopaedic Research Society - Munich, Germany
Duration: 13 Sept 201715 Sept 2017


Conference25th Annual Meeting of the European Orthopaedic Research Society
Internet address


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