Spondylolisthesis is a common cause of back and leg pain in both adolescents and adults. Spondylolisthesis describes the abnormal slipping or dislocation between two vertebrae. The causes, severity, and symptoms associated with spondylolisthesis are quite variable. Many people with spondylolisthesis have no symptoms while others may have chronic low back pain, leg pain, or neurogenic claudication from spinal stenosis. Spondylolisthesis is commonly seen in conjunction with lumbar stenosis.
Our surgeons at Texas Spine Associates have extensive experience in treating Spondylolisthesis. Texas Spine Associates offers accurate diagnosis and minimally invasive, cutting edge treatment for a variety of spinal conditions. To learn more about treatments for spondylolisthesis, request a consultation at any of our convenient locations throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Or you can call us at (972) 987-0969 to schedule your appointment.
Types of Spondylolisthesis
Spondylolisthesis is divided into 5 main types, based on the cause of the vertebrate slippage. These types are:
- Isthmic: This is the most common type of spondylolisthesis in adolescents and young adults.. It is caused by a stress fracture in the back portion of the spine, an area known as the pars articularis. Even though these fractures usually occur in adolescents and young adults, symptoms may not occur until many years or even decades later.
- Degenerative: This is the most common type of spondylolisthesis in adults. As it’s name implies, vertebral slipping is caused by wear and tear degenerative changes in the disc and facet joints of the spine that weakens the attachments between two adjacent vertebrate to allow slippage.
- Traumatic: Fractures arising from acute trauma to the spine may result in slippage of vertebrate.
- Dysplastic: This type of spondylolisthesis, also called congenital (present at birth) spondylolisthesis, is caused by abnormal development of the spine.
- Pathologic: Erosion or damage to the back portion of the spine from tumors, bone conditions, or even previous spinal surgery, including the lamina, facet joints and connecting ligaments may also weaken the attachments between adjacent vertebrate and result in spondylolisthesis.
Symptoms of Spondylolisthesis
- Numbness and tingling or cramping in thighs and legs
- Muscle weakness or loss of motor function in the extremities that may worsen when sitting or bending
- Stiffness in thighs or legs
- Sharp constant pain that may affect standing or walking
- Loss of bladder or bowel control in extreme cases. *Requires immediate medical attention*
Spondylolisthesis and the associated stenosis is not a condition that develops overnight. Diagnosis of the condition is based on a thorough history and physical examination in conjunction with imaging that includes X-rays and possibly an MRI. Specifically, for spondylolisthesis, dynamic X-rays will be orderedto fully assess the amount of instability. Dr. Neil Shah and Dr. Vishal Patel are highly experienced in diagnosing spondylolisthesis and other spinal disorders as well as providing both surgical and non-surgical care.
Dr. Shah, Dr. Patel, and Dr. Happ take a conservative approach by recommending non-surgical treatments whenever possible. We recommend surgery as a last resort when symptoms do not improve with conservative measures. Treatment options for spinal stenosis may include one or a combination of the following:
- Modified Physical Activity
- Spinal Injections
- Physical therapy
- Minimally Invasive Lumbar Microdecompression
- Minimally Invasive Lumbar Fusion