Case: Spondylolisthesis

Disabling, Isthmic Spondylolisthesis in 50 Year Old Female
Patient History

The patient was a 50-year-old female from southern Illinois, who came to our office with severe pain in her low back and in both legs. The pain was so severe that it was drastically reducing the quality of her life, and making everyday tasks difficult to perform.
Prior to coming to see Dr. Rahman, the patient had tried various non-operative treatments, including physical therapy. However, these treatments provided no relief.

Patient Examination and Diagnosis

Dr. Rahman examined the patient, and requested several x-rays and MRI scans (Figs. 1-2).
The patient was diagnosed with isthmic spondylolisthesis. This is a condition in which a small fracture in a bony structure at the back of the spine, results in a vertebra slipping forwards over the vertebra beneath it.

Spondylolisthesis Figure 1

Fig. 1: X-ray showing L5 vertebra slipping forward over the S1 vertebra.

Spondylolisthesis Figure 2

Fig. 2: MRI showing L5 vertebra slipping forward over the S1 vertebra.

 

Surgery

Dr. Rahman performed a surgery to stabilize the vertebra that was slipping, and to decompress the nerves that were causing pain. This was done by very carefully implanting various medical devices including screws, rods and a vertebral spacer (Figs. 3-4).

Spondylolisthesis Figure 3

Fig. 3: Xray showing special screws, rods and a spacer used to stabilize the spine.

Spondylolisthesis Figure 4

Fig. 4: X-ray taken from the side, showing the screws, rods and spacer used to stabilize the spine.

 

Outcome

The patient was delighted with the outcome. The pain in her legs is gone, and her low back pain is greatly reduced. She has been able to return to her normal lifestyle.