How is Spondylolisthesis Treated with Surgery?

Spondylolisthesis is a condition of the back in which one vertebra slides forward or backward onto an adjacent vertebra, often causing significant pain, weakness or numbness in areas ranging from the lower back and buttocks to running down the legs. In situations where non-invasive treatments do not work, surgery is often recommended as a remedy. Surgery for spondylolisthesis is usually involves two distinct procedures that can be accomplished in the same instance: Decompression, which removes part of the bone to alleviate pressure; and Spinal fusion, which prevents a recurrence by realigning and permanently fusing the two vertebrae together. Let’s take a moment to break down exactly what this means.

Decompression surgery

This surgery removes part of the bone or tissue from the offending vertebra to alleviate pressure on the spine. Many times, this involves a laminectomy, or the removal of the back part of the bone to enlarge the spinal canal. This procedure is intended to alleviate the symptoms of pain and numbness associated with the pressure caused by the slipped vertebra.

Spinal fusion surgery

After decompressing the affected area, the surgeon will usually perform a spinal fusion procedure to fuse the two affected vertebrae together in their proper alignment. While this procedure may restrict some movement in the back, it can also prevent spondylosisthesis from recurring. Actual surgical procedures may vary according to the severity of the condition. In some cases, a laminectomy alone may suffice, but if the surgeon feels the risk of recurrence is significant, he may recommend the fusion surgery, as well.

For more information about spondylosisthesis treatments, contact Polaris Spine & Neurosurgery Center today at (404) 256-2633.

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