Deformation of dorsal root ganglion due to pressure transients of venous blood and cerebrospinal fluid in the cervical vertebral canal
Journal article, 2018

The dorsal root ganglion (DRG) that is embedded in the foramen of the cervical vertebra can be injured during a whiplash motion. A potential cause is that whilst the neck bends in the whiplash motion, the changes of spinal canal volume induce impulsive pressure transients in the venous blood outside the dura mater (DM) and in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) inside the DM. The fluids can dynamically interact with the DRG and DM, which are deformable. In this work, the interaction is investigated numerically using a strong-coupling partitioned method that synchronize the computations of the fluid and structure. It is found that the interaction includes two basic processes, i.e., the pulling and pressing processes. In the pulling process, the DRG is stretched towards the spinal canal, and the venous blood is driven into the canal via the foramen. This process results from negative pressure in the fluids. In contrast, the pressing process is caused by positive pressure that leads to compression of the DRG and the outflow of the venous blood from the canal. The largest pressure gradient is observed at the foramen, where the DRG is located at. The DRG is subject to prominent von Mises stress near its end, which is fixed without motions. The negative internal pressure is more efficient to deform the DRG than the positive internal pressure. This indicates that the most hazardous condition for the DRG is the pulling process.

Pressure transients


Venous blood

Dura mater

Fluid-structure interaction

Cerebrospinal fluid

Dorsal root ganglion


Huadong Yao

Chalmers, Mechanics and Maritime Sciences (M2), Fluid Dynamics

Mats Svensson

Chalmers, Mechanics and Maritime Sciences (M2), Vehicle Safety

Vehicle and Traffic Safety Centre at Chalmers

Håkan Nilsson

Chalmers, Mechanics and Maritime Sciences (M2), Fluid Dynamics

Journal of Biomechanics

0021-9290 (ISSN)

Vol. 76 25 16-26

Areas of Advance


Life Science Engineering (2010-2018)

Subject Categories

Applied Mechanics

Other Medical Engineering


Vehicle Engineering

Fluid Mechanics and Acoustics


Basic sciences


C3SE (Chalmers Centre for Computational Science and Engineering)

Driving Forces

Innovation and entrepreneurship



More information

Latest update

9/5/2018 6