Do You Need Spondylolysis Surgery?

Do you need spondylolysis surgery? The answer is probably not. However, let’s review what your options are including new procedures that promote healing without surgery.

What is Spondylolysis?

Medical illustration showing a healthy spine and spince affected by spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis


Before we learn about spondylolysis surgery, we need to learn about the medical problem of spondylolysis and it’s cousin spondylolisthesis. This is a medical term derived from Latin. “Spondy” means “spine” and “lysis” means “cracked”. The pars interarticularis is more Latin that means “the part between the joints”. In this case, it’s the bone between the facet joints. This is where the spine “cracks” in spondylolysis. If this stays this way for years, one part of the spine can start slipping forward on the other which is called spondylolisthesis. This is Latin for “slipped spine”.

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What Are the Main Types of Spondylolysis?

There are two types you should know about:

  • Congenital-The patient is born without a bony connection at the pars interarticularis. There is often a fibrous connection where the bone should be.
  • Traumatic-The patient often has one side congenital and one which is weakened or normal. An accident or trauma happens and the more normal side breaks due to the inherent weakness of the whole segment.

Spondylolysis surgery is usually used to treat the traumatic type of spondylolysis. However, this is only reserved for cases that don’t heal on their own.

Chris Centeno, MD is a specialist in regenerative medicine and the new field of Interventional Orthopedics. Centeno pioneered orthopedic stem cell procedures in 2005 and is responsible for a large amount of the published research on stem cell use for orthopedic applications. View Profile

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NOTE: This blog post provides general information to help the reader better understand regenerative medicine, musculoskeletal health, and related subjects. All content provided in this blog, website, or any linked materials, including text, graphics, images, patient profiles, outcomes, and information, are not intended and should not be considered or used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please always consult with a professional and certified healthcare provider to discuss if a treatment is right for you.