The human pelvis is susceptible to severe injury in vehicle side impacts owing to its close proximity to the intruding door and unnatural loading through the greater trochanter. Whereas fractures of the pelvic bones are diagnosed with routine radiographs (x-rays) and computerized tomography (CT scans), non-displaced damage to the soft tissues of pubic symphysis joints may go undetected. If present, trauma-induced joint laxity may cause pelvic instability, which has been associated with pelvic pain in non-traumatic cases. In this study, mechanical properties of cadaveric pubic symphysis joints from twelve normal and eight laterally impacted pelves were compared. Axial stiffness and creep responses of these isolated symphyses were measured in tension and compression (perpendicular to the joint). Bending stiffness was determined in four primary directions followed by a tension-to-failure test. Loading rate and direction correlated significantly with stiffness and tensile strength of the unimpacted joints, more so than donor age or gender. The impacted joints had significantly lower stiffness in tension compression and posterior bending and more creep under a compressive step load than the unimpacted specimens. Tensile strength was reduced following impact, however, not significantly. We concluded that the symphysis joints from the impacted pelves had greater laxity, which may correlate with post-traumatic pelvic pain in some motor vehicle crash occupants.
Elastic and Viscoelastic Properties of the Human Pubic Symphysis Joint: Effects of Lateral Impact Loading
Contributed by the Bioengineering Division for publication in the JOURNAL OF BIOMECHANICAL ENGINEERING. Manuscript received by the Bioengineering Division February 13, 2000; revised manuscript received December 21, 2000. Associate Editor: V. K. Goel.
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Dakin , G. J., Arbelaez , R. A., Molz, F. J., Alonso, J. E., Mann , K. A., and Eberhardt, A. W. (December 21, 2000). "Elastic and Viscoelastic Properties of the Human Pubic Symphysis Joint: Effects of Lateral Impact Loading ." ASME. J Biomech Eng. June 2001; 123(3): 218–226. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.1372321
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