What is Spondylolisthesis?

Spondylolisthesis occurs when one vertebra slips forward onto the vertebrae below it. This produces both a gradual deformity of the lower spine and also a narrowing of the vertebral canal. It is often associated with pain.

What is spondylolisthesis?

Types of Spondylolisthesis

Spondylolisthesis is officially categorized into five major types:

  • Dysplastic spondylolisthesis

    Dysplastic

    Dysplastic spondylolisthesis is caused by a congenital defect (present from birth) in the formation of part of the vertebra called the facet. This defect can cause the vertebra to slip forward.1

  • Isthmic

    Isthmic spondylolisthesis is caused by a defect in a part of the vertebra called the pars interarticularis. This defect can cause the vertebra to slip forward.

  • Degenerative spondylolisthesis

    Degenerative

    Degenerative spondylolisthesis occurs when the joints, through arthritis, lose their ability to keep the alignment of the spine in its normal position. This can cause the vertebra to slip forward.

  • Traumatic spondylolisthesis

    Traumatic

    Traumatic spondylolisthesis is caused by trauma or injury to the vertebrae. A fracture of the pedicle, lamina or facets can cause the vertebra to slip forward.

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    Pathologic

    Pathologic spondylolisthesis is caused by a structural weakness of the bone, usually caused by a disease, such as a tumor or other bone disease. This weakness can cause the vertebra to slip forward.