Bertolotti’s Syndrome & the Spine

Category: Spine | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: April 24, 2015

lumbar vertebraeThere are many conditions and syndromes that can cause back pain in a patient. Today we are going to focus on a rather obscure and hotly debated condition known as Bertolotti’s syndrome. In this article, we will define Bertolotti’s syndrome and discuss its causes, symptoms, and treatment options.

What is Bertolotti’s Syndrome?

Bertolotti’s syndrome is a condition in which a patient experiences back pain that is linked with a lumbosacral transitional vertebrae (LSTV). To break that down further, an LSTV is a vertebra that has the characteristics of several types of vertebrae. Spinal vertebrae are slightly different depending on their location in the spine (for example, a cervical vertebra is different than a lumbar vertebra). Certain congenital defects can cause vertebrae to take on abnormal characteristics. These differences in vertebral structure can cause back pain.

Symptoms of Bertolotti’s syndrome typically include pain in the low back or buttocks. The condition is congenital in nature, though it typically does not manifest itself until a patient reaches their 20s or 30s.

Treatment Options

The signs of Bertolotti’s syndrome can be easily confused with other conditions, so an MRI scan is usually needed to confirm a diagnosis of Bertolotti’s syndrome. Once diagnosed, treatments for pain caused by Bertolotti’s syndrome can include pain injections to the affected vertebra, radiofrequency ablation, or minimally invasive surgery (either a spinal fusion or a resection of the transitional vertebra).

Back pain is a very general symptom and can be caused by many different conditions and injuries. If you are experiencing back pain that is making it difficult to participate in everyday activities, make an appointment with your doctor to identify the underlying cause of your pain and plot a course for treatment. It’s not worth it to live with your back pain. Get the treatment you deserve today.

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