What is Spondylolisthesis?
Spondylolisthesis is a condition that occurs when one vertebral body slips or subluxated over another. This condition is most commonly seen in the lumbar spine or lower back but can also occur at other levels. Causes for spondylolisthesis include degenerative changes, traumatic injury, congenitally acquired or spondylolysis (failure of the neural arch manifesting as a defect in the pars interarticularis). The severity of spondylolisthesis can be mild or severe depending on the degree of subluxation of one vertebral body over another.
Symptoms of Spondylolisthesis
Some patients with spondylolisthesis may experience no symptoms at all. Others may experience pain, tightness, or stiffness of the muscles of the neck or back depending on the level of the subluxation. Spondylolisthesis can also lead to spinal stenosis, foraminal stenosis, disc protrusion, disc bulge, disc herniation, or degenerative disc disease. All of these conditions can place pressure upon the nerve roots or spinal cord.
When this happens, the patient may experience any of the following:
- Weakness involving the arms or legs.
- Gait disturbances.
- Bowel and/or bladder dysfunction.
- Pain in the buttocks.
- Tight Hamstring muscles.
- Stiffness, numbness or tingling in the region.
Since spondylolisthesis is a form of spinal instability, symptoms may worsen with increased activity or weight-bearing.
Treatment for the various forms of spondylolisthesis is considerably less varied than the subtypes of the disorder itself. Typically, treatment consists of pain management and rehabilitation. Patients are usually prescribed a regimen of bed rest, bracing, physical therapy and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories for up to 6 months before surgery is even considered since both conservative treatment and surgery have similar long-term outcomes and surgery involves a much greater risk of complications.
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Surgery for Spondylolisthesis
Surgical efforts usually aim to stabilize the level of spinal subluxation. Often, this can be accomplished using minimally invasive surgery techniques. In other cases, decompression of the nerve roots or spinal cord may also be necessary and require an open surgical procedure. Spinal stabilization generally requires the use of internal stabilizing hardware to promote bony fusion.
At Princeton Neurological Surgery, Dr. Lipani is a board-certified fellowship-trained spine surgeon in New Jersey who performs minimally invasive spine surgery as well as complex spinal procedures. Dr. Lipani is a specialist in the treatment for spondylolisthesis, spinal instability and many other spinal conditions such as spinal stenosis, herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, low back pain, neck pain, spinal tumors, spinal cancer and more. Dr. Lipani offers image-guided spine surgery approaches for spondylolisthesis treatment, tailored to the needs of each patient.
Schedule a Consultation
Many patients needing spinal surgery don’t want to travel far from home to see a specialist in another state. With Dr. Lipani, you have spondylolisthesis surgery options and never have to leave New Jersey. Dr. Lipani makes sure all his patients are well taken care of before and after neurosurgery, making them feel like part of the family. If you suffer from the symptoms of spondylolisthesis, call our New Jersey office at (609) 890-3400 to schedule a consultation at Princeton Neurological Surgery.