Vertebral Slippage (Spondylolisthesis)
Dr. Cink, what causes vertebral slippage and who is at risk?
Vertebral slippage (spondylolisthesis, slipped vertebra) occurs when the structure of one or more spinal segments is unstable and a vertebra slips out of place. The problems occur mainly in the lumbar region. Affected persons complain about movement restrictions and – in case if the slipped vertebra put pressure on a nerve – pain in the lower back or leg.
What are the common symptoms of vertebral slippage?
There are no specific slipped vertebra symptoms, the symptoms may resemble those of other back problems, such as herniated discs. Affected persons suffer from pain primarily under stress and during certain movements. Spondylolisthesis may, however, also progress without symptoms.
The pain caused by spondylolisthesis can spread in a belt-like pattern from back to front. In addition, there is a feeling of instability in the spine. In severe cases, sensory and motor disturbances may occur and extend to the legs. These symptoms occur mainly as result of compression or pinching of the nerve roots that exit the spinal canal.
What are the treatment options?
Usually the complaints can be managed well, rest, medical therapy and physiotherapy often relieve symptoms. Surgery is necessary only in severe cases of high-grade spondylolisthesis with severe pain which cannot be controlled by conservative methods, or in case of neurological deficits.
How is the operation performed?
There are several surgical methods available, most of them use minimally invasive technologies. The specialists of the Spine Center Confraternitaet evaluate all options and discuss them in detail with the patient.
What has to be considered after the operation?
After a spondylolysis operation, the body needs rest for several weeks. Rehabilitation should be carried out to achieve further stabilization and mobilization.
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