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J Chiropr Med. 2019 Jun;18(2):139-143. doi: 10.1016/j.jcm.2018.12.002. Epub 2019 Jun 26.

Progression of Diagnostic Imaging Findings of a Patient With Traumatic Spondylolisthesis Secondary to Unilateral Facet Fractures: A Case Report.

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Clinical Sciences Department, Parker University, Dallas, Texas.



The purpose of this case study is to describe the diagnostic imaging studies of a patient who had a traumatic spondylolisthesis at L5-S1 secondary to unilateral facet fractures.

Clinical Features:

A 21-year-old man experienced a rollover motor vehicle crash that led to low back pain and progressive left-sided radiculopathy. Later, he sought treatment from a doctor of chiropractic because he continued to have low back pain with progressive pain down his left leg. A magnetic resonance imaging study demonstrated a left paracentral disc protrusion at L5-S1. Follow-up computed tomography demonstrated multiple transverse process fractures and left-sided L5-S1 facet fractures with spondylolisthesis that progressed over time.

Intervention and Outcome:

The patient was referred for a neurosurgical consultation 10 months after the injury. At 12 months after the injury, he underwent transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion with a posterior approach. The patient's pain and radicular symptoms resolved after the surgery.


This patient exhibited posterior element fractures, had continued symptom progression, and was monitored for the development of a spondylolisthesis. Because of progression and exacerbation of symptoms, neurosurgical consultation for surgical stabilization was mandated.


Low Back Pain; Spinal Fractures; Spondylolisthesis

[Available on 2019-12-01]

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