Stress fractures of the pars interarticularis (the bone that hooks the upper vertebrae to the lower vertebrae preventing them from slipping apart) are called spndylolysis. Lysis means split or in this case break or fracture. Spondylolysis commonly happens in childhood during the growth spurt. It may also break from physically demanding sports like football or gymnastics. Sometimes these fractures may heal with rest and bracing, or they may stay the same or progress resulting in slippage of the spine called spondylolithesis. Spondylolithesis is when the upper vertebrae slips forward on the lower vertebrae. This may cause back pain from abnormal alignment and instability (increased spine movements). Spondylolithesis may also cause leg pain from bone, ligament and/or scar tissue pinching the nerves going to the legs. This tightness is called spinal stenosis. The pars fracture and spondylolithesis (slip) may stress the disks, facet joints, ligaments and muscles leading to degenerative disk disease and bone spurs.
Today there are many surgical options for spondylolysis (pars fracture) and spondylolithesis (slip) including endoscopic foraminotomy (opening up the tightness around the nerves), endoscopic rhizotomy (cutting the facet pain nerves like a “root canal” for the spine) and endoscopic fusion (placement of screws, rods and bone to stabilize the spine strengthen the spine and prevent abnormal spine movements called instability). For more information please contact Executive Spine Surgery. Good Luck!