Previous studies have implied that increases in loading rate resulted in changes in vertebral mechanical properties and these changes were causative factors in the different fracture types seen with high-speed events. Thus many researchers have explored the vertebral body response under various loading rate conditions. No other study has investigated the role of the endplate in high-speed vertebral injuries. The current study determined changes in the endplate and vertebral body strength with increases in displacement rate. The endplate and vertebral body failure loads in individual lumbar vertebrae were documented for two displacement rates: 10 and 2500mm/s. Using cross-sectional areas from the endplate and vertebral body, failure stresses for both components were calculated and compared. Both the endplate and vertebral body failure loads increased significantly with increased loading rate (p0.35). In addition, the endplate and vertebral strengths were not significantly different under high-speed loading (p>0.60), which inhibits possible predictions as to which bony component would fail initially during a high-speed injury event. It is possible that load distribution may contribute more to the fracture patterns seen at high speeds over vertebral component strength. © 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
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