Lytic spondylolisthesis

Lytic spondylolisthesis

A stress fracture in the spine can lead to slippage of one vertebra on the next, leading to the development of back and leg pain.

At Schoen Clinic, our spine specialists have many years of experience in the treatment of spine disorders. Together we will develop an individual treatment plan for you.

How does lytic spondylolisthesis develop?

Lytic spondylolisthesis is caused by a stress fracture (pars defect) of the narrow bridge of bone between the joints at the back of the spine. There may be a hereditary aspect to this condition or certain sports, such as gymnastics, weight lifting, cricket, and football can put stress on the bones of the spine. Either can result in a stress fracture on one or both sides of the spine.

Diagnosing lytic spondylolisthesis

Diagnosing lytic spondylolisthesis requires experience. There are many symptoms that are linked to the spondylolisthesis and the nerve compression meaning the condition can often be overlooked. With thorough diagnostic tests, we can find the cause of your problems and initiate the appropriate treatment.

Every diagnosis at Schoen Clinic begins with extensive consultation and a thorough physical examination. After the assessment, we can confirm the diagnosis with imaging methods and precisely determine the level and extent of the spondylolisthesis and associated stenosis.

Lytic spondylolisthesis can be seen on an X-ray of the spine. Other tests such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are required to look at the spine in more detail and to assess the degree of slippage and nerve compression. In this procedure, we can optimally visualise the spinal canal and the neural structures such as the spinal cord and nerve roots that pass through it.Sometimes it may be necessary to perform other tests such as a CT scan or neurophysiology testing.

Lytic spondylolisthesis: symptoms

Many people are not aware of their stress fracture or experience any problems for several years. However, over a period of time symptoms can occur including lower back pain and leg or sciatic pain in one or both legs.

Over time a slippage or spondylolisthesis can develop and cause back and leg pain. The degree of spondylolisthesis may vary from mild to severe. The nerves can be stretched where they branch out of the spinal canal which can cause pain, numbness, increased sensitivity or even weakness of the muscles, in the part of the leg the nerve supplies, known as sciatica.