Abnormal motion in spondylolytic spondylolisthesis

Schneider, Gregory, Pearcy, Mark J., & Bogduk, Nikolai (2005) Abnormal motion in spondylolytic spondylolisthesis. Spine: an international journal for the study of the spine, 30(10), pp. 1159-1164.


Study Design. A retrospective, cohort study of the kinematics of the lumbar spine of patients with spondylolisthesis compared with asymptomatic normal subjects.

Objective. To determine if abnormal motion could be detected in the radiographs of patients with spondylolisthesis.

Summary of Background Data. Contrary to the prevailing conviction that lumbar segments affected by lytic spondylolisthesis are unstable, multiple studies have failed to find evidence of increased or abnormal motion at these segments. However, these studies did not use techniques that might reveal abnormalities in the quality of motion, as opposed to its magnitude.

Methods. The flexion-extension radiographs of 13 patients with spondylolytic spondylolisthesis were analyzed to determine the location of their instantaneous centers of rotation, and their magnitudes of translation and sagittal rotation. Normative data were obtained by applying the same techniques to the radiographs of 20 asymptomatic subjects.

Results. All but 1 of the 13 patients had at least one segment with abnormal motion. Only one patient had excessive translation at the lytic segment. Five patients had minor abnormalities affecting either the lytic segment or ones above, and 6 had paradoxical motion at the lytic segment in which the center of rotation was located above L5, instead of below, and in which L5 translated backward instead of forward during flexion.

Conclusions. A proportion of patients with spondylolisthesis had highly abnormal movements but ones with normal magnitudes of motion. Determining the instantaneous axes of rotation reveals the abnormal quality of motion.

Impact and interest:

19 citations in Scopus
21 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 8249
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: For more information, please refer to the journal’s website (see hypertext link) or contact the author.
Additional URLs:
Keywords: sponylolisthesis, instability, lumbar spine, biomechanics
ISSN: 1528-1159
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING (090300) > Biomechanical Engineering (090302)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2005 Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins
Deposited On: 26 Jun 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:10

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