Degenerative Spondylolisthesis

Spondylolisthesis is a condition where one vertebra has slipped forward over another one below it. This misalignment typically occurs as a result of advanced degenerative disc disease, stress fractures, or congenital abnormalities, and in rare cases from a tumor or trauma.

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Causes and symptoms of Degenerative Spondylolithesis

Spondylolisthesis can cause impingement of the nerves and/or fatigue of the back muscles, and may result in lower back and/or leg pain.

Degenerative spondylolisthesis most commonly occurs in the lower back (lumbar spine) and is graded on a numerical scale from 1 to 4, with 1 being the least severe. It is also more common in people over age 50 and women are two times as likely as men to be diagnosed.

Lower back and/or leg pain

Abnormal Posture and/or A shuffling gait when walking

Weakness in the lower extremities

Sciatica, an aching pain in the hips, buttocks, and lower back that radiates (spreads) into the back of the thighs and legs

Non-Surgical Treatments

If spondylolithesis is established as a diagnosis, your physician may recommend one or more of the following treatments:

  • Physical therapy and strengthening exercises
  • Rest and a restriction of physical activity
  • Injections (e.g., corticosteroids) to help reduce the pain and swelling
  • Medications and analgesics to reduce pain and swelling, typical medications may include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)


Surgical Procedures

If symptoms do not improve with other methods, your physician may suggest spinal surgery. Surgical solutions for advanced degenerative disc disease with resultant spondylolisthesis may include:

  • Decompression Surgery such as Laminectomy
  • Decompression with Fusion Surgery
  • Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF)
  • Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (PLIF)
  • Maximum Access Surgery (MAS® ) PLIF
  • Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF)
  • eXtreme Lumbar Interbody Fusion (XLIF®)

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