The 6 Different Types Of Spondylolisthesis

Category: Spine | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: February 20, 2023

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Spondylolisthesis is a spinal condition categorized by vertebral misalignment. The condition occurs when one vertebra slips backwards or forwards over an adjacent vertebrae. It can affect people during all walks of life for a variety of different reasons. There are six different classifications of spondylolisthesis that are based on their underlying cause. We spotlight those six types of spondylolisthesis in today’s blog.

The Causes Of Spondylolisthesis Onset

As you’ll soon see, spondylolisthesis can develop for a number of different reasons, so it’s not always obvious that you’re dealing with the condition. Here’s a look at the six types of spondylolisthesis based on their reason for onset.

  1. Congenital Spondylolisthesis – Also referred to as dysplastic spondylolisthesis, this version of spondylolisthesis is present at birth. This tends to be caused by a developmental defect in the facet joints of the spine. Compared to other types of spondylolisthesis, this form is quite rare.
  2. Isthmic Spondylolisthesis – This is the most common form of spondylolisthesis, and it involves a defect in the pars interarticularis, which connects the upper and lower spinal facet joints. This defect or fracture of the pars interarticularis prevents the vertebrae from staying aligned with the rest of the spinal column. The most common location for this defect to develop is at the L5-S1 level.
  3. Traumatic Spondylolisthesis – As you can probably guess, this type of spondylolisthesis is the result of trauma to the vertebrae or spinal structure that causes the vertebrae to shift out of its natural alignment. Trauma to the spinal vertebrae typically results in other types of injuries, and the traumatic form of spondylolisthesis is pretty rare.
  4. Degenerative Spondylolisthesis – This type of spondylolisthesis develops due to arthritic degeneration within the spinal column. As natural degeneration takes place, it gets harder for your vertebrae to remain in alignment, and if too much facet joint degeneration occurs, a vertebral segment can slip forwards or backwards.
  5. Pathologic Spondylolisthesis – The pathologic form of spondylolisthesis means that the vertebral slippage is the result of weakness in the bone. If cancer, bone disease or tumors weaken the bone or threaten the stability of the spinal column, vertebral shifting can occur.
  6. Iatrogenic Spondylolisthesis – The final type of spondylolisthesis is known as iatrogenic spondylolisthesis, and it involves a vertebral slippage that is caused as a result of a prior spine surgery. During a spinal decompression procedure, a small amount of bone may be removed to relieve nerve compression, but if too much bone is removed or the column is not appropriately stabilized following surgery, it can put a person at an increased risk of vertebral shifting and spondylolisthesis.

For more information about any type of spondylolisthesis, or to talk to a specialist about the spinal discomfort that you’re experiencing, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi and his team today at (651) 430-3800.


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