Bilateral isthmic L3 spondylolisthesis in an adult female

J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2008 Feb;31(2):160-3. doi: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2007.12.005.


Objective: The purpose of this study is to describe an incidental finding of bilateral isthmic L3 spondylolysis in an adult female.

Clinical features: A 26-year-old woman with sickle cell anemia was involved in a motor vehicle accident. Lumbar radiographs were reported normal. Computed tomography scan showed bilateral L3 spondylolysis of the pars interarticularis.

Interventions and outcomes: On the basis of the normal results of physical and neurologic examinations, the spondylolysis was considered to be an incidental finding.

Conclusions: L3 spondylolysis is described very rarely in the literature. According to the unique features of L3 in the lumbar spine, which include its relatively horizontal position and its equal anterior and posterior diameters, we suggest that mechanical shearing forces may be less effective in causing spondylolysis in this area. This case is more suggestive of congenital and genetic causes as the contributing factors of spondylolysis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anemia, Sickle Cell / complications
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidental Findings
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / diagnostic imaging*
  • Spondylolisthesis / complications
  • Spondylolisthesis / diagnosis*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed