The human thorax is commonly injured in motor vehicle crashes, and despite advancements in occupant safety rib fractures are highly prevalent. The objective of this study was to quantify the ability of gross and cross-sectional geometry, separately and in combination, to explain variation of human rib structural properties. One hundred and twenty-two whole mid-level ribs from 76 fresh post-mortem human subjects were tested in a dynamic frontal impact scenario. Structural properties (peak force and stiffness) were successfully predicted (p < 0.001) by rib cross-sectional geometry obtained via direct histological imaging (total area, cortical area, and section modulus) and were improved further when utilizing a combination of cross-sectional and gross geometry (robusticity, whole bone strength index). Additionally, preliminary application of a novel, adaptive thresholding technique, allowed for total area and robusticity to be measured on a subsample of standard clinical CT scans with varied success. These results can be used to understand variation in individual rib response to frontal loading as well as identify important geometric parameters, which could ultimately improve injury criteria as well as the biofidelity of anthropomorphic test devices (ATDs) and finite element (FE) models of the human thorax.
Annals of Biomedical Engineering – Springer Journals
Published: May 25, 2017
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