Thoracolumbar Spine Injuries in Car Crashes
Paper in proceedings, 2016
While thoracolumbar (TL) spine injuries have increased in relative importance, they have been
subject to limited test methods and injury criteria developments. Using real‐world crashes from Volvo Cars
Traffic Accident Database, a two‐part study was carried out: a statistical analysis to establish the correlation
between influencing factors to the accident occurrence; and an in‐depth data study to identify and categorise
AIS2+ TL spine fractures.
Most of the thoracolumbar fractures occur in the area of transition between the thoracic and lumbar spine.
Compression is the most common AIS2+ TL spine fracture type, followed by anterior wedge. The occurrence of
these is mainly in crashes with a main force component towards the front or the undercarriage. In side impacts,
transversal processes fractures are the most frequent injuries.
There is an over‐representation of these injuries in complex events, such as multiple impacts and multiple
events, including run‐off‐road, rollover and turnover. In the cases of pure frontal impacts, the crash severity is
typically high, with a large front structure engagement exerting the occupant for high accelerations.
The character of the TL spine fractures, together with the situations of occurrence; provide important
insights into likely occupant loading mechanisms, enabling important steps towards methods and criteria
addressing these injuries.
real world data analysis