Degenerative spondylolisthesis is most prevalent in women over the age of 50. This spinal disorder–where one vertebra slips over the vertebra beneath it–typically affects the lumbar (lower back) area. It is generally considered an age-related condition characterized by bones, ligaments, and muscles that have lost their normal structural support, allowing vertebral disc slippage.
Causes of Degenerative Spondylolisthesis
The following are among the primary causes of degenerative spondylolisthesis:
- Degenerative disc disease
- Spinal osteoarthritis of facet joints
- Ineffective muscle stabilization
Traumatic injury, poor posture, obesity, repetitive movements, and certain body mechanics may worsen degenerative spondylolisthesis.
Like all spine conditions evaluated by Dr. David Barnett, a diagnosis is achieved through the patient’s medical history, physical examination, and imaging tests such as lateral radiographs and MRIs.
Symptoms of Degenerative Spondylolisthesis
Degenerative spondylolisthesis may affect the cervical or lumbar spine. It is more common in the lower spine at the L4 and L5 levels. Degenerative spondylolisthesis symptoms often include:
- Pain in the lower back or neck
- Muscle spasms
- Tightness of the hamstrings
- Numbness or tingling
- Weakness of the legs
- Pain that is affected by position and movement
Conservative & Surgical Degenerative Spondylolisthesis Treatment
While degenerative spondylolisthesis may be progressive, a variety of non-operative therapies can offer relief. Physiotherapy for core strengthening, steroid injections, medications, and activity reduction can often provide demonstrable improvements.
Surgery may be considered when conservative therapies have failed, or the patient exhibits ongoing neurologic deterioration that affects bladder and bowel control or induces motor deficits. Minimally invasive spine surgery aims to stabilize the spine and remove nerve compression.
Dr. Barnett performs two types of degenerative spondylolisthesis surgery designed to eliminate pain and re-stabilize the spinal column.
- Cervical spinal fusion – a laminectomy or discectomy and fusion at the affected area in the neck can provide excellent results. Different materials may be implanted to promote fusion, align the vertebrae, and support an unstable cervical spine.
- Lumbar arthrodesis – when degenerative spondylolisthesis impacts the lower back, a Transverse Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF) may be indicated. The procedure has excellent bone fusion rates, stops painful movement, and reduces the complication risks associated with more invasive approaches.
Second Opinion on Degenerative Spondylolisthesis
When it comes to treating painful spinal conditions, two professional medical opinions are always encouraged, especially if surgery has been recommended. If you were diagnosed with degenerative spondylolisthesis by your orthopedic specialist or spine surgeon and want a second opinion, do not hesitate to schedule an appointment with Dr. David Barnett. A leading Dallas neurosurgeon, he brings over 26 years of experience providing comprehensive care for patients struggling with disorders of the cervical and lumbar spine.
Schedule a Private Consultation with David Barnett, MD
Those with degenerative spondylolisthesis of the neck or low back do not have to live in pain. Through expert and personalized care, Dr. David Barnett helps patients make informed decisions about their health and regain their active lifestyles. He remains at the forefront of minimally invasive techniques and can treat many of his patients without surgical intervention.
Please contact our office today to schedule an appointment with a board-certified Dallas neurosurgeon who takes a multidisciplinary approach to treat spinal conditions.
What Our Patients Have to Say
From start to finish, Dr. Barnett and his staff were always informative and professional. Dr. Barnett performed my neck surgery and lower back surgery all during a pandemic and everything worked out perfect. Highly recommend Dr. Barnett. Top notch.
Contact us to schedule a consultation and let us help you start feeling better today.