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Spondylolisthesis

A condition in which a vertebra of the lumbar (lower) spine slips out of place.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases)

About Spondylolisthesis

Spondylolisthesis, a condition in which one vertebra slips forward on another, may result from a degenerative condition or an accident, or, very rarely, may be present at birth.

Poor alignment of the spinal column when a vertebra slips forward onto the one below it can place pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots at that place. NIH - National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Interbody fusion cage and autograft fusion for lumbar spondylolisthesis: a meta-analysis

Bibliographic details: Mamat M, Sheng WB, Abdurexit A, Guo HL, Deng Q, Liang WD, Tursunjan M.  Interbody fusion cage and autograft fusion for lumbar spondylolisthesis: a meta-analysis. Chinese Journal of Tissue Engineering Research 2013; 17(52): 9041-9048 Available from: http://en.cnki.com.cn/Article_en/CJFDTotal-XDKF201352020.htm

A systematic review of physiotherapy for spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis

The purpose of this systematic review was to assess the evidence concerning the effectiveness of physiotherapy intervention in the treatment of low back pain related to spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis. A literature search of published and unpublished articles resulted in the retrieval of 71 potential studies on the subject area. Fifty-two of the 71 articles were studies, and these studies were reviewed using preset relevance criteria. Given the inclusion and exclusion criteria chosen for this systematic review, there were very few acceptable studies and only two studies met the relevance criteria for the critical appraisal. Both studies provide evidence to suggest that specific exercise interventions, alone or in combination with other treatments, have a positive effect on low-back pain due to spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis; however, the type of exercise used was different in the two studies. In this review, very few prospective studies were found that examined the efficacy of physiotherapy on the topic area; therefore, few conclusions can be made, and further research is warranted.

Surgery for degenerative lumbar spondylosis

Degeneration of the lumbar spine is described as lumbar spondylosis or degenerative disc disease and may lead to spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal), vertebral instability and/or malalignment, which may be associated with back pain and/or leg symptoms. This review considers the available evidence on the procedures of spinal decompression (widening the spinal canal or laminectomy), nerve root decompression (of one or more individual nerves) and fusion of adjacent vertebrae. There is moderate evidence that instrumentation can increase the fusion rate, but any improvement in clinical outcomes is probably marginal. The effectiveness of intra‐discal electrotherapy (IDET) remains unproven. Only preliminary results are available on disc replacement and it is not possible to draw any conclusions on this subject.

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Summaries for consumers

Surgery for degenerative lumbar spondylosis

Degeneration of the lumbar spine is described as lumbar spondylosis or degenerative disc disease and may lead to spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal), vertebral instability and/or malalignment, which may be associated with back pain and/or leg symptoms. This review considers the available evidence on the procedures of spinal decompression (widening the spinal canal or laminectomy), nerve root decompression (of one or more individual nerves) and fusion of adjacent vertebrae. There is moderate evidence that instrumentation can increase the fusion rate, but any improvement in clinical outcomes is probably marginal. The effectiveness of intra‐discal electrotherapy (IDET) remains unproven. Only preliminary results are available on disc replacement and it is not possible to draw any conclusions on this subject.

More about Spondylolisthesis

Photo of an adult

See Also: Spinal Fusion, Laminectomy, Sciatica

Other terms to know:
Nerves, Vertebrae

Related articles:
How the Spine Works

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