Spondylolisthesis is a spinal condition that develops when a vertebra slips forward onto the bone beneath it. If left untreated, it can cause debilitating pain and permanent damage. Both non-invasive and surgical techniques are available to treat the condition and provide lasting pain relief.
Dr. Stieber may recommend spondylolisthesis surgery if the patient’s pain is disabling, interferes with daily activities, and has not responded to conservative treatment approaches. The main goal of the procedure is to relieve the discomfort, stabilize the spine, and increase function.
Dr. Stieber may then perform a laminectomy to relieve pressure on the nerves in the spinal column. This procedure involves removing part or all of the lamina, which is the bony roof of the vertebra. If the slipped vertebra results in a pinched nerve in the lower back, symptoms such as numbness, tingling, and pain that radiates down the back or legs may develop. By relieving pressure on the nerve root, Dr. Stieber can reduce this discomfort and improve function.
In order to treat spondylolisthesis, spinal fusion will be performed to permanently join the affected vertebrae together with bone grafts and eliminate movement between them. During surgery, Dr. Stieber will place small metal screws and rods in the spine to hold the vertebrae in place. With time, new bone will grow over the graft.
The procedure is done under general anesthesia. To begin, Dr. Stieber will stabilize the fractured portion of the vertebra using small wires or screws to prevent it from slipping forward. If the bone is very weak, he will use a bone graft to strengthen the area.
While this spinal fusion can sometimes be performed on an outpatient basis, a hospital stay of one to four days is required so our physicians and nurses can monitor your progress. During your stay, pain medication will be administered to ensure your comfort and you will be usually encouraged to walk the same day or the next day after surgery.
Almost all NYC patients can return home, though you may require additional assistance with daily tasks and basic care. For about six weeks after the procedure, it’s important to limit physical activity. Light walking and gentle, low-impact movements can speed recovery and ensure an optimal healing process.
After the procedure, you will begin physical therapy to improve muscle strength, increase flexibility, and further stabilize the spine. Routine follow-up appointments will occur every approximately three months at Dr. Stieber’s New York office to ensure that the fusion heals properly.
Most patients can resume their normal daily activities within four to twelve weeks after surgery. Dr. Stieber will provide you with personalized guidance throughout your recovery during your post-operative appointments.