SpondylolisthesisSpondylolisthesis is a term used for when the alignment of one vertebra upon another is abnormal. This is looking at the spine from the side (lateral view). The vertebra can slide backwards (retrolisthesis) or more commonly the vertebra slides forwards on the one below causing a misalignment. There are several causes for this including degeneration, stress fractures, trauma, infection, tumours and iatrogenic after previous spinal surgery.
Spondylolisthesis can result in neck or back pain depending on its location and can involve the spinal cord or nerves depending on its location. If it occurs in the lumbar spine then patients tend to present with spinal stenosis with aching into their buttocks and legs.
After history and examination, including a neurological assessment, standing x-rays may be requested to look at the overall alignment. An MRI scan or CT scan may also be used to look more closely at the cause and resultant nerve compression.
Treatment for some patients may just involve physical therapy combined with activity modification. If there is nerve pain, then steroid injection may be considered (epidural injection or nerve root block). If symptoms progress and are not responsive to conservative treatment, then decompression surgery and/or fusion may be appropriate and this would be discussed at your clinic appointment.
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Possible Treatment Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF)