Spondylolisthesis surgery is generally a very invasive process involving such dramatic techniques as laminectomy and spondylodesis, also called spinal fusion. There are rarely simple surgical fixes for listhesis conditions that truly warrant invasive care. The practices utilized are very effective at restoring the migrated vertebral bone to its rightful anatomical location, but that is where their inherent benefits end. Unfortunately, while some patients enjoy satisfying surgical outcomes, others do not fare so well, for various reasons that will be explored throughout this important resource section.
Spinal surgery is always a very serious matter and should never be entered into lightly or without much research and consideration. The potential negative consequences of spinal operations rank among some of the worst in the medical treatment industry for all conditions and all diagnoses. We see many cases of spondylolisthesis where surgery is prudent and even completely necessary to maintain physical functionality and preserve life itself. However, we also witness many cases where surgery is optional, or completely and objectively not needed, yet is performed anyway, often with terrifying results.
This resource section contains a series of dissertations covering the surgical treatment of listhesis conditions. We will provide objective research statistics and analyses of various types of operations for an assortment of diagnostic conclusions. Most importantly, we will caution patients on the downsides of surgical care, even when it is needed and deemed to be successful.
The Need for Spondylolisthesis Surgery
Surgery is truly necessary for some listhesis patients who are suffering not only severe symptoms, but also direct threat against spinal stability, risk of spinal cord injury or the cruel fate of disability. These patients usually are suffering from extreme grade 4 listhesis, but in some cases might have severe versions of grade 3 vertebral slippage. Although the procedures used to treat these people are very dangerous and invasive, there are simply very limited options, so they must face the downsides of surgical care in order to potentially reap the benefits of treatment.
However, we see surgical endeavors routinely being used to treat many grade 1 and 2 listhesis conditions, most of which are clearly misdiagnosed as the source of pain, since no definitive pathology can be produced during diagnostic evaluation. Despite this fact, the listhesis is the most clinically significant structural change and therefore is arbitrarily blamed as the origin of pain and targeted for surgical intervention. It is no surprise that people who fit into this therapeutic category actually suffer worse results from surgery compared to the group with much more clinically significant listhesis detailed above. The reason for this seemingly strange fact is simple misdiagnosis of the listhesis and inappropriate invasive treatment for an incidental spinal abnormality.
We caution patients very clearly that surgery might be offered to them regardless of the logic of this prescription, the lack of evidence showing listhesis as the actual source of pain or the odds of the procedure actually accomplishing anything positive in terms of pain relief.
Spondylolisthesis Surgery Topics
In order to provide the type of comprehensive coverage of this very vital subject matter, we have prepared the following reports, each detailing a specific aspect of the surgical treatment process for spondylolisthesis:
Laminectomy for spondylolisthesis can clear stenosis in the central or foraminal canals, as well as reduce the collateral effects of general arthritic build-ups. This technique is often used in combination with spinal fusion for spondylolisthesis to restore vertebral position and increase canal patency.
Spondylolisthesis nerve ablation is a symptomatic modality that uses invasive techniques to reduce pain, without correcting the vertebral slippage concern.
Spondylolisthesis surgeons can be orthopedic or neurology experts, but often work in teams to address skeletal and neurological concerns during operative care.
Failed spondylolisthesis surgery is the worst possible event any patient can face after enduring the horrors of surgical intervention on the spine. Failed surgery can occur for many reasons. We provide details on how to avoid it from becoming your future.
Spondylolisthesis Surgery Cautions
Spondylolisthesis surgery is less often used for contraindicated conditions (mostly low grade and non-pathological vertebral migration) when compared to other spinal operations, such as those targeting general arthritic accumulations and especially those targeting herniated discs. However, more than half of the spondylodesis and/or laminectomy procedures we witness for listhesis treatment are suspect in many ways and probably should not have been performed. This is usually because the condition treated (the listhesis) was almost surely not the actual source of suffering. Poor treatment statistics for low grade listhesis surgeries confirm this finding 100%, which is logical given the expectation for a poor outcome when the wrong condition is surgically treated.
Be wary of surgical prescriptions for all but the most severe spondylolisthesis issues. Always be certain to seek out objective second or third opinions before even considering a surgical fix. This is particularly true for grade 1, 2 and less severe grade 3 instances of vertebral slippage. Remember that although surgery does hold the promise for providing a cure, the procedures used are very risky and horrific to endure. You would not want to subject yourself to spinal fusion without true justification, since the pain might actually be worse postoperatively and may also include functional limitations that will now haunt you for life.
Be careful and remember that medicine is a business. Do not be shocked if a surgeon who makes money by performing invasive care recommends an operation. This is what they do. Of course they want to operate! Just be sure that their recommendations are geared towards actually helping you and improving your pain, not simply making them lots of money for optional and truly unnecessary surgical suffering. Meanwhile, for patients who do require invasive care, be certain to investigate your procedural options and choose the best surgeon and least invasive type of procedure that will achieve your surgical objective.