Current evaluation and management of spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis

Curr Sports Med Rep. 2003 Feb;2(1):41-6. doi: 10.1249/00149619-200302000-00008.


Spondylolysis occurs with a prevalence of 4% to 6% in the general population. Although the etiology of this lesion is still unclear, it has been shown to have both hereditary and acquired risk factors, with an increased prevalence in men and athletes participating in certain high-risk sports. Spondylolisthesis occurs in a significant proportion of individuals with bilateral spondylolysis. Predicting risk factors for progression of the slip in spondylolisthesis has proven difficult. Multiple imaging techniques are helpful in the diagnosis of spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis, with recent research addressing the utility of magnetic resonance imaging in the diagnosis and management of pars lesions. The management guidelines have remained largely unchanged since early recommendations. Recently, the addition of a bone growth stimulator to the management of difficult cases has shown promise.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Braces
  • Child
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / etiology
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / diagnostic imaging
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk Factors
  • Spondylolisthesis / classification
  • Spondylolisthesis / complications
  • Spondylolisthesis / diagnosis*
  • Spondylolisthesis / therapy*
  • Spondylolysis / classification
  • Spondylolysis / complications
  • Spondylolysis / diagnosis
  • Spondylolysis / therapy
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Treatment Outcome