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Spondylolisthesis
(RT015)

Introduction


Spondylolysis is the degeneration or deficient development of the articulating part of the vertebrae. It occurs in 6% of the general population and occurs only in persons who are able to stand upright and walk, which is thought to be a causative factor. The condition is virtually nonexistent among newborns, but exists in 5% of 6 year olds. Spondylolysis is more common in persons who participate is sports such as diving, weight lifting, wrestling and gymnastics - activities that require repetitive hyperextension.

In combination with other factors, spondylolysis may permit forward slippage of one vertebra on the one below, producing a spondylolisthesis. This occurs most commonly at the last lumbar vertebra (L5) causing it to slip on the first sacral vertebra (S1).

Many young persons with spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis may have no symptoms. Persons often develop symptoms during the preadolescent growth spurt. Magnitude of symptoms does not always correlate with the severity of slip.

Many persons require no treatment for the condition. Persons with spondylolysis or low-grade spondylolisthesis may be managed conservatively without surgery. Skeletally immature persons with slippage greater that 30-50% are at increased risk for progression and are considered candidates for spinal fusion without delay.

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