Procedure

Spondylolisthesis Stabilization- Spinal Surgery

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Spondylolisthesis stabilization is a surgical procedure used in patients with spondylolisthesis. It helps reduce back pain and improves the ability to perform daily activities.

What is Spondylolisthesis?

Spondylolisthesis is a painful condition of the spinal bones (vertebra). It occurs when one of the spinal bones slips forward and rests onto the bone below it. The misalignment of one spinal bone with respect to another causes pain and destabilization of the spine.

Most cases of spondylolisthesis result due to overuse of the lower back. However, some cases may occur due to trauma, tumor, and degenerative changes in the lower back.

Treatments include pain medications, heat therapy, low-intensity exercise, rest, and the use of a brace. Patients who do not improve with these conventional treatments may need surgery.

Diagnosis of Spondylolisthesis

The diagnosis relies on the findings from an X-ray, MRI, CT scan or Single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) scan.

These imaging tests allow your doctor to identify slippage of the vertebra, check disease progression, and help plan for surgery.

Most notably, CT scan can help separate one type of spondylolisthesis from another. Likewise, an MRI scan is useful in detecting if spondylolisthesis has compressed the spinal cord.

Your doctor may also order a test to determine electrical activity in the muscles. The test is known as electromyogram (EMG).

Spondylolisthesis Stabilization: Things to Know

There are two techniques of spondylolisthesis stabilization. They are:

Dynamic stabilization

Dynamic stabilization aims to reduce pain and load on the affected spinal bone. Reduced load promotes healing in the bone tissues.

In this type of surgery, a doctor implants a rigid or semi-rigid device on the affected vertebra. The device, which consists of a pedicle screw, supports the vertebra.

Fusion

Fusion is a spondylolisthesis spinal technique in which the spinal bones are fused together. Besides, pedicle screws support the fusion. Your doctor may remove the screws once the bones fuse completely and need no further support.

Sources:

  • https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877056816301931
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2899657/
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430767/
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3639681/
  • https://medlineplus.gov/ency/presentations/100121_6.htm
  • https://www.uwhealth.org/files/uwhealth/docs/sportsmed/Spondy_Rehab_Guide.pdf
About the Author:
Shailesh Sharma is a registered pharmacist and medical content writer from Nepal. He enjoys digging into latest findings of research and strongly believes in evidence-based health information. He graduated from Pokhara University School of Health and Allied Sciences and was engaged in clinical pharmacy and academia in various regions of Nepal for almost 9 years. Shailesh also serves as Project Manager of Graduate Pharmacists’ Association, Nepal (GPAN).
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