Retrolisthesis refers to a backward movement in a spinal vertebra relative to the vertebra below it. Retrolisthesis was not considered to be of clinical importance in the past. Research continues to show that retrolisthesis is associated with decreased functionality, pain, and degenerative changes in the spine.

Back Surgery and Retrolisthesis

Spine Journal published a 2007 study that evaluated 125 patients who had undergone L5-S1 discectomy. They wanted to determine if retrolisthesis was present. The study revealed that nearly 1/4 of patients had retrolisthesis.

Retrolisthesis doesn’t necessarily mean that you will have more pain than someone without it. Researchers found that symptoms in both the retrolisthesis and with discectomy were roughly equal.

Researchers also looked at changes in the spinal structures associated with retrolisthesis cases. They found no correlation between retrolisthesis and a higher incidence or severity of degenerative disc disease, or changes in the bony rings at the back of the vertebrae.

Surgery can cause retrolisthesis. A third study published in Spine Journal in 2013, found that retrolisthesis pain can develop 4 years after discectomy. The same holds true for physical function.

Similar to the Dartmouth study results, discectomy outcomes for patients with retrolisthesis were similar to those of patients who did not have it. The results of patients with retrolisthesis were similar to those without it. They had the same outcomes as the Dartmouth study.

Another study, published in the December 2015 issue of the Journal of Neurosurgery and Spine found that patients with greater than 7.2% retrolisthesis in their back arching (extension) may not be suitable for surgery. Retrolisthesis in these cases increases the risk of lumbar disc herniation after surgery. The surgery was a bilateral partial lumbar laminectomy with the removal and reattachment of the posterior support ligament. )

See also  Treatments for the Perfect Curvy Body

Who gets Retrolisthesis

What kind of patients get retrolisthesis? According to the 2007 study, retrolisthesis was present in all patients, regardless of age, gender, education, or race.

Retrolisthesis patients were more likely to be eligible for workers’ comp. Age was also a factor for those with vertebral changes or degenerative disc disease (both without and with retrolisthesis). These changes can be explained by the fact that they are generally a result of ageing.

Finally, those who had vertebrae endplate modifications tended to smoke and not have insurance.


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