Pelvic fractures resulting from automotive side impacts are associated with high mortality and morbidity, as well as substantial economic costs. Previous experimental studies have produced varying results regarding the tolerance of the pelvis to lateral force and compression. While bone mineral density (BMD) has been shown to correlate with fracture loads in the proximal femur, no such correlation has been established for the pelvis. Presently, we studied the relationships between total hip BMD and impact response parameters in lateral impacts of twelve isolated human pelves. The results indicated that total hip BMD significantly correlated with fracture force, Fmax, and maximum ring compression, Cmax, of the fractured pelves. These findings are evidence that BMD may be useful in assessing the risk of pelvic fracture in automotive side impacts. Poor correlation was observed between total hip BMD and maximum viscous response, (VC)max, energy at fracture, Epeak, and time to fracture, tpeak. Mean Fmax and calculated tolerances for Cmax and (VC)max were lower than those established in previous studies using full cadavers, likely a result of our removal of soft tissues from the pelves prior to impact.
Keywords: Bone mineral density; Side impact; Pelvis; Fracture; Injury biomechanics