Lumbar Decompression and Stabilisation for Degenerative Spondylolisthesis
Following your recent investigations and consultation with your spinal surgeon, you have been diagnosed with degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis.
This is the forward slippage of one lumbar vertebra (bone of the spine) on the vertebra below it. The slippage occurs because of wear and tear on the joints that link at the back of the vertebra (facet joints), so much so that the spine is unable to maintain its proper position. The degree of spondylolisthesis may vary from mild to severe. Symptoms may include lower back pain and pain in the thighs and buttocks, stiffness, muscle tightness and tenderness in the area of the slippage.
If too much slippage occurs, it can create narrowing of the spinal canal (spinal stenosis).
The normal spinal column has a central canal (or passage) through which the spinal cord passes down. To each side of the canal, spinal nerve roots branch out at every level. The spinal cord stops at the top of the lumbar spine (lower back) and from this point tiny nerve rootlets splay out like a horse’s tail forming the cauda equina. The spinal cord, nerve roots and cauda equina are protected by a tough outer membrane, or covering, called the dura mater.
In spinal stenosis, the spinal nerve roots and / or cauda equina become trapped or compressed by narrowing of the canal.
When nerves are compressed they can produce symptoms of pain,numbness and tingling in the legs where the particular spinal nerve supplies. In some cases severe pain and even weakness are experienced.