Spondylolisthesis

Last revised by Dr Henry Knipe on 22 Aug 2021

Spondylolisthesis (plural: spondylolistheses) denotes the slippage of one vertebra relative to the one below. 

Although etymologically it is directionless (see below) and could be applied to both anterolisthesis and retrolisthesis, in practice, however, spondylolisthesis is used synonymously with anterolisthesis. Often, particularly in the lower lumbar spine, it is due to spondylolysis (pars interarticularis defects) 6

Spondylolisthesis can occur anywhere in the vertebral column but is most frequent in the lumbar spine, particularly when due to spondylolysis at L5/S1 ref, and when due to degeneration at L4/5 7

To adequately describe a spondylolisthesis, both the type (see the classification of spondylolisthesis) and grade (see grading of spondylolisthesis) need to be stated. 

Spondylolisthesis is from the Ancient Greek σπονδύλους (spondylous) meaning vertebra and ολίσθηση (olisthesis) meaning slippage 6

ADVERTISEMENT: Supporters see fewer/no ads

Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: grading I - V
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 1: L5/S1 - grade II
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 2: L4/5 - grade II
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 3: L4/5 - grade II
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 4: L5/S1- grade II
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 5: L4/5 - grade I
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 6: grade IV
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 7: pars interarticularis fracture
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 8
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Updating… Please wait.

     Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

     Thank you for updating your details.