This study was undertaken to investigate the dynamic response of human cervical spine ligaments. Uniaxial tensile failure tests were conducted on anterior longitudinal ligament (AL) and ligamentum flavum (LF) structures. These ligaments were tested under In situ conditions by transecting all the elements except the one (AL or LF) under study. A fixture was designed to properly align the specimen to induce a uniaxial mode of loading. A six-axis load cell was placed at the distal end of the specimen. The proximal end of the specimen was attached to the piston of a specially designed electrohydraulic testing device. The biomechanical properties of the ligaments were determined at four different loading rates of 8.89,25.0, 250.0 and 2500 mm/sec. The mechanical response indicated nonlinear and sigmoidal characteristics. The ultimate tensile failure load, stiffness, and energy-absorbing capacity at failure were found to increase with increasing loading rates for both the AL and LF. However, the distractions at failure did not indicate this tendency. While the ultimate tensile force and ultimate energy-absorbing capacity varied nonllnearly with the logarithm of the loading rate, the stiffness varied linearly.
Keywords: loading rate; dynamic response; cervical spine ligaments; anterior longitudinal ligament; ligamentum flavum; unixial tensile strength