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Traumatic Lumbar Spondylolisthesis: A Systematic Review and Case Series. – Back Pain Doctor Harley Street

Traumatic Lumbar Spondylolisthesis: A Systematic Review and Case Series.

Study Design:

Systematic review and case series.


Any acute injury to the posterior elements of the lumbar spine resulting in listhesis is considered a traumatic spondylolisthesis. This rare injury caused by high-energy trauma is variably described in the literature as fracture-dislocation, where only case reports and series have been published. Our objectives were to propose evidence-based treatment recommendations and a new classification system for this injury.


A systematic review of literature from PubMed, EMBASE, and Cochrane without time frame limitations was performed, which included 77 level IV and V articles and 9 patients as case series in the analysis.


A total of 125 cases were reviewed with mean age of 30.5 years. Half of the cases resulted from a vehicular accident. Back pain presented in 82%, while 50% had neurologic deficits. Operative treatment was performed in 93.6% (posterior decompression [PD] = 4%; posterior spinal fusion [PSF] = 43.2%; interbody fusion [IB] = 46.4%) with overall fusion rates of 74%. Binomial regression analysis for achieving solid fusion showed a 28.6× higher odds for IB compared to PSF (P = .008, r 2 = 0.633). Subanalysis of cases with disc injuries revealed higher fusion outcomes for IB (87%) compared to PSF (46%; P = .006), while there were no significant differences for patients without disc injury. Pain and neurological symptoms improved significantly on final follow-up (P < .001). Overall complication rate was 22%.


Operative management with reduction, decompression for neurologic deficits, instrumentation, and fusion is recommended for traumatic spondylolisthesis. Interbody fusion is recommended to achieve better fusion outcomes especially with preoperatively identified disc lesions.

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