Spondylolisthesis (pronounced spon-dee-low-lis-thee-sis) is made up from the Greek words spondylos, which means “spine,” and listhesis, meaning “slide.” The condition spondylolisthesis describes a spinal defect in which one vertebra slides with respect to the vertebra below it. Spondylolisthesis is sometimes referred to as “anterior displacement.” Although it can occur in the cervical (neck), thoracic (middle), or lumbar (lower) regions of the spine, it is most common in the lower back.
Diagnosis & Treatment
- Proper diagnosis is made by a physician through medical history and physical examination. Most likely, an MRI or CT scan will be arranged, in order to pinpoint the exact location of the vertebral movement. This medical imagery is also used to determine the degree of slippage, which can range on a scale from 1 to 5. Grade 1 represents a 1 to 25 percent movement of one vertebral body on its adjacent vertebra. Grade 2 represents a 26 to 50percent; grade 3 a 51 to 75percent; and grade 4 a 76 to 100percent movement. Grade 5 is given the name spondyloptosis, meaning the vertebra has completely moved off from its adjacent vertebra. Treatment of spondylolithesis depends upon its grade. Grade 1 and 2 may be initially treated conservatively. More extreme grades are more likely to be treated surgically.
While the conservative treatment methods are considered prudent for lower grade spondylolithesis, they are aimed at symptom suppression, not elimination of the condition itself. If your spondylolisthesis is severe, your doctor may suggest surgery. It will be important for you to consider all of your options before committing to any type of surgery.
Laser Spine Institute (LSI) offers the latest in minimally invasive, endoscopic procedures for neck and back conditions. Contact LSI today for a complimentary review of your MRI or CT scan and to learn more about how our treatment for spondylolisthesis may help you.