Dr. Kamal Thapar, MD., PhD., FRCSC., FAANS
1200 Oakleaf Way, Suite A, Altoona, WI 54720
Spondylolisthesis is a disorder that occurs when one vertebrae slides forward on another vertebrae. It often occurs with standing or changing positions. There are two main types for spondylolisthesis including degenerative and congenital. Degenerative spondylolisthesis is more prevalent and is often seen in older adults who also have degenerative disc disease, in which there is a loss of height and resiliency of the intervertebral discs. Congenital spondylolisthesis refers to a defect that was present at birth that contributes to the displacement of the vertebrae.
Spondylolisthesis often affects the low back because that is the region of the spine that absorbs the greatest pressure and force.
There are certain activities that may predispose an individual to developing spondylolisthesis including gymnastics, weight lifting and playing football. These activities place a lot of force on the lumbar spine and may lead to degeneration of those vertebrae later in life.
Additionally, if spondylolisthesis runs in one’s family, an individual may be more likely to be born with the congenital type.
Spondylolisthesis can also occur as a result of a fracture or prior surgery.
– Low back pain made worse with movement, standing, walking, or changing positions.
– Leg pain
– Numbness and/or tingling in the lower extremities
– Weakness in the legs, especially with walking and prolonged standing
The diagnosis of spondylolisthesis is based on several imaging studies including x-rays, MRI, and CT scans.
Treatment of spondylolisthesis is based on the patient’s symptoms and can include both conservative management and surgical intervention. The type of surgical intervention is based on the patient’s symptoms and health as well as imaging studies. Surgical treatment of spondylolisthesis may include an anterior lumbar interbody fusion with or without a posterior lumbar fusion. Other approaches may be used based on each individual patient and may include transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion or an extreme lateral interbody fusion.