Surgery for low-grade spondylolisthesis — issues to consider before you consent

Spondylolisthesis surgery can be recommended for patients who have not received the relief they require from conservative nonsurgical treatment. If your doctor has recommended surgical treatment for your low-grade spondylolisthesis, there are a number of important issues to consider before you consent to an operation.

Nonsurgical treatments

A large number of patients who are diagnosed with spondylolisthesis do not require surgery because they find the relief they need through conservative treatment. What works for one patient, however, might not work for you and finding the optimal nonsurgical treatment plan might require trial and error. Before consenting to surgery, ask your doctor if there are any other nonsurgical treatments that could still be worth attempting. He or she can recommend a personalized treatment plan.

Surgical approach

Traditional open spine spondylolisthesis surgery is highly invasive and requires a long, often difficult, rehabilitation. If your doctor has advised you to undergo an operation for low-grade spondylolisthesis, review the differences between traditional open spine surgery and minimally invasive spine procedures before consenting to either operation:

Traditional open spine surgery for spondylolisthesis:

  • Requires overnight hospitalization
  • Uses a large incision that causes disruption of muscles and other soft tissue
  • Poses a risk for failed back surgery syndrome, infection and other postsurgical complications
  • Can cause significant scarring
  • Requires a long rehabilitation

A minimally invasive procedure for spondylolisthesis:

  • Is performed on an outpatient basis and typically requires no hospitalization^
  • Can be performed with a less than 1-inch incision
  • Is muscle sparing
  • Poses a reduced risk for FBSS and infection
  • Requires no lengthy recovery^

Laser Spine Institute

If your doctor has recommended surgery for low-grade spondylolisthesis, you may consider a minimally invasive procedure from Laser Spine Institute as an alternative to traditional open spine surgery. As the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery, we perform minimally invasive decompression and minimally invasive stabilization procedures that have helped more than 75,000 patients since 2005.

To find out if you’re a candidate for one of our procedures, contact Laser Spine Institute to receive a free review of your MRI or CT scan.*