• clinical application;
  • trauma;
  • impact biomechanics;
  • injury biomechanics;
  • experiments


Traumatic injuries from blunt, penetrating, and blast events expose the human body to unintentional and intentional external mechanical loads. To mitigate trauma and develop safety-engineered devices for clinical and bioengineering applications, it is critical to delineate the structural load-bearing anatomy and biomechanics of the various components of the human body. This article presents advances made in the understanding of the injury responses and tolerances through experiments conducted using intact or segmented tissues from postmortem human subjects (PMHS), and a considerable majority of data for the presentation has been extracted from studies conducted at the Institutions of the authors. The role of the PMHS model for studying traumatic injuries to the head and face, vertebral column (cervical, thoracic and lumbar spines), thorax, abdomen, pelvis, and lower extremities is discussed. Different impact loading scenarios, likely responsible for the initial trauma causation, are considered in the analysis and determination of the human response to injury. Clinical advances made using the PMHS model are discussed. This includes vertebral stabilization system evaluations secondary to traumatic injuries to the spinal column. The critical importance of using data from the PMHS model in developing validated computational models for advancing crashworthiness research, occupant safety in motor vehicle crashes, medical devices, and safety-engineering applications is highlighted. Clin. Anat. 24:282–293, 2011. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.