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What is it?

Listhesis refers to a condition where one vertebra slips forward or backward in relation to the adjacent vertebra. It can occur in any part of the spine but is most common in the lumbar (lower back) region.


  • Symptoms of Listhesis can vary depending on the degree of slippage and its impact on nearby nerves and structures.
  • Common symptoms may include back pain, stiffness, muscle spasms, radiating pain into the buttocks or legs (if nerve compression occurs), and changes in posture or gait.


Primary Symptoms:

The primary symptoms of Listhesis may include:

  • Lower back pain that worsens with standing, walking, or bending.
  • Pain or numbness that radiates into the buttocks or legs (sciatica).
  • Muscle weakness or tightness in the lower back or legs.
  • Changes in posture, such as a forward-leaning stance or exaggerated arch in the lower back.



  • Diagnosis typically involves a physical examination, medical history, and imaging studies such as X-rays, CT scans, or MRI.
  • Treatment options may include rest, activity modification, physical therapy, pain management with medication or injections, and in severe cases, surgery to stabilize the spine and relieve pressure on nerves.


What to Expect After Surgery:

  • After surgery for Listhesis, patients can expect relief from symptoms such as back pain, leg pain, and neurological deficits.
  • Recovery time varies depending on the type of surgery and the individual patient, but most patients can expect to gradually improve over several weeks to months.
  • Physical therapy may be recommended to help strengthen the muscles supporting the spine and improve mobility and function.


Risks & Complications:

  • As with any surgery, there are risks associated with procedures to treat Listhesis, including infection, bleeding, nerve injury, spinal fluid leakage, and failure of the fusion (if fusion is performed).
  • Additionally, there may be a risk of adjacent segment degeneration or recurrence of symptoms over time.
  • However, complications are relatively rare, and the benefits of surgery often outweigh the risks, particularly when conservative treatments have failed to provide relief or when there is evidence of nerve compression or spinal instability.

Spine Treatments

About Dr. Bharat

Dr Bharat Shinde completed his M.Ch Neurosurgery from the National Institute Of Mental Health And Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore which is an institute of National importance.