Cervical facet joint kinematics during bilateral facet dislocation

Eur Spine J. 2007 Oct;16(10):1680-8. doi: 10.1007/s00586-007-0410-2. Epub 2007 Jun 14.


Previous biomechanical models of cervical bilateral facet dislocation (BFD) are limited to quasi-static loading or manual ligament transection. The goal of the present study was to determine the facet joint kinematics during high-speed BFD. Dislocation was simulated using ten cervical functional spinal units with muscle force replication by frontal impact of the lower vertebra, tilted posteriorly by 42.5 degrees. Average peak rotations and anterior sliding (displacement of upper articulating facet surface along the lower), separation and compression (displacement of upper facet away from and towards the lower), and lateral shear were determined at the anterior and posterior edges of the right and left facets and statistically compared (P < 0.05). First, peak facet separation occurred, and was significantly greater at the left posterior facet edge, as compared to the anterior edges. Next, peak flexion rotation and anterior facet sliding occurred, followed by peak facet compression. The highest average facet translation peaks were 22.0 mm for anterior sliding, 7.9 mm for separation, 9.9 mm for compression and 3.6 mm for lateral shear. The highest average rotation of 63 degrees occurred in flexion, significantly greater than all other directions. These events occurred, on average, within 0.29 s following impact. During BFD, the main sagittal motions included facet separation, flexion rotation, anterior sliding, followed by compression, however, non-sagittal motions also existed. These motions indicated that unilateral dislocation may precede bilateral dislocation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Cervical Vertebrae / diagnostic imaging
  • Cervical Vertebrae / physiopathology*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Demography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Joint Dislocations / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radiography
  • Zygapophyseal Joint / physiopathology*