L5/S1 spondylolisthesis secondary to spondylolysis

Case contributed by Hisham Alwakkaa
Diagnosis certain


Patient presented to the ER with abdominal and back pain following skiing injury.

Patient Data

Age: 11 years
Gender: Male

The posterior arch or L5 is Hypoplastic. There is vertical lucent line through the pars interarticularis of L5. Grade I anterolisthesis of L5 on S1 also presents.

Red arrow is pointing to the pars defect

Purple arrow is pointing to the anterolisthesis of L5 over S1.

Developmental hypoplasia of the posterior arch of L5 associated with bilateral pars defect of L5, with resulting grade I anterolisthesis of L5 over S1. Spina bifida occulta of L5 and sacrum is present.

Case Discussion

Typical findings of spondylolysis (pars defects) and resulting spondylolisthesis, with associated spina bifida occulta, were detected incidentally during a trauma workup. This is an important finding as it can be confused with a traumatic injury. 

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