Quantification of lumbar spine vertebral body tolerance to axial compressive loads is important to understand the biomechanics of injury and for the development of safety enhancements. While fracture tolerance for isolated lumbar vertebral bodies has been outlined in multiple experimental studies, compressive rates were generally in the quasi-static range (e.g., 5 mm/min) [1–4]. However, vertebral body fractures most commonly occur under dynamic mechanisms such as falls from height. In the military environment, lumbar fractures were demonstrated following aviator ejection, helicopter crashes, and underbody blast events involving improvised explosive devices. Vertebral body compression during those events is likely to be orders of magnitude greater than quasi-static rates used previously [5]. Due to the loading rate dependence demonstrated for other tissues, including thoracic vertebrae [6], arteries [7], ligaments [8], and isolated spines [9], tolerance limits obtained from quasi-static testing are not likely applicable for the dynamic loading environment. Therefore, this study was conducted to quantify dynamic fracture biomechanics of lumbar vertebrae.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.