Spondylolisthesis literally means, “spine slippage”.  Unlike a slipped disc, which is an old expression of disc herniation, spine slippage means slippage of the bones/vertebrae, not the disc. Keep reading to avoid spondylolisthesis surgery.

L4 spondylolisthesis of the low back

L4 spondylolisthesis of the low back

Spondylolisthesis is fairly common among people, being present in about 7-10% of people, especially as we get older.  The most common cause is degeneration of the joints, which, then, become incompetent as restraining elements.  So instead of holding the spine, above, in its proper place, the spine above, slides forward.  We can measure the amount of slippage in mm or in grades 1 through 4, each grade representing a 25% increment of slippage.  The slip you see, above, is a grade 1-2 slip.

Spondylolisthesis is often painless for decades, as it slowly progresses.  Grade 1 slips are usually possible to treat without surgery.  Once the slip reaches grade 2, there is a high probability that you will need surgery to fix it.

There are two ways to fix this with surgery.  The old, inferior method, is to cut the back open and fuse the bones from the back.  The newer, better way to do this, is minimally invasively, from the front or side of your spine.  This provides more direct access to the spine, and permits better correction.  And because it is minimally invasive, the recovery period is quicker.

While spinal fusion surgeries often have a poor reputation as a 50/50 proposition, surgical correction of spondylolisthesis, done minimally invasively, has a very good prognosis.

If you have a grade 1 spondylolisthesis, I can probably help you recover without surgery.  If you need a surgical opinion, and referral to the best surgeon for this correction, please call my office for an appointment at 404-558-4015.