What is spondylolisthesis of the lumbar spine?

Spondylolisthesis is a condition characterized by the slippage of a vertebra over another, occurring most frequently in the lumbar (lower back) region of the spine. The lumbar region carries a majority of a person’s upper body weight and is one of the more flexible regions of the spine, and is therefore more susceptible to deterioration than the upper spine. These are many causes of this condition, but the most common ones are due to the natural aging process and injury from high-impact activities.

Spondylolisthesis symptoms and treatments

Symptoms of spondylolisthesis include back tightness or stiffness, radiating pain in the buttocks or thighs and localized pain in the affected area of the spine. A physician will typically recommend conservative (nonsurgical) remedies to help manage the patient’s symptoms. Some of treatments that patients might try include:

  • Low-impact exercise and gentle stretching
  • Physical therapy
  • Over-the-counter pain medications
  • Epidural steroid injections
  • Alternative care, such as yoga, Pilates or chiropractic medicine

Spondylolisthesis surgery

If nonsurgical treatments fail to provide patients with relief from their spondylolisthesis symptoms, then surgery may be needed.

Traditional open back surgery is one option, but the minimally invasive procedures performed at Laser Spine Institute provide an alternative with many benefits. At Laser Spine Institute, we offer a variety of minimally invasive, outpatient surgeries that are used to treat spondylolisthesis and other degenerative spinal conditions. Our minimally invasive decompression (MID) procedures are performed to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or a nerve root, and include:

  • Discectomy — Includes the removal of damaged disc material from a bulging disc or herniation
  • Foraminotomy — Involves the removal of excess bone matter and tissue that may be compressing a nerve
  • Laminotomy – Consists of removing a portion of the lamina to relieve pressure on the spinal cord
  • Facet thermal ablation — Involves the deadening of a painful nerve ending within a facet joint and is most often performed in conjunction with one of the above MID procedures

Laser Spine Institute also performs several minimally invasive stabilization (MIS) procedures to address a vertebra that has slipped out of place and other more advanced forms of spinal degeneration. To find out if you’re a candidate for a minimally invasive, outpatient surgery at Laser Spine Institute, contact us today.