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Women over 50 are more likely to develop spondylolisthesis; know what it is


With symptoms similar to those of other spinal disorders, spondylolisthesis is more common in young athletes and women over 50 years of age.

Although spondylolisthesis affects about 2 million Brazilians a year, spondylolisthesis is still under-reported in the context of spinal diseases, delaying the search for diagnosis and adequate treatment for those who have the problem. A condition characterized by sliding of one vertebra over another causes severe low back pain that radiates to the limbs and can lead to severe disability.

Know the signs that may indicate a disease – Photo: Pexels / ND

What is spondylolisthesis?

Spondylolisthesis is caused by sliding between two vertebrae of the spine, that is, sliding forward, backward, or sideways of one vertebra over the other, causing pain and functional limitations for the individual. It can manifest itself in different ways, depending on its causes, classified as:

Degenerative spondylolisthesis: caused by natural aging of the spine. As the years go by, both the discs and the joints of the spine become weaker and more unstable, allowing slippage between the vertebrae;

Isthmic spondylolisthesis: resulting from spondylolysis, this is a type of spinal fracture caused by overloading and overstretching the spine, causing the affected vertebrae to move one over the other;

Traumatic spondylolisthesis: caused by very sudden movements, accidents and falls, which cause instantaneous displacement of the vertebrae;

Iatrogenic spondylolisthesis: the causes of which are relapses during procedures and operations that manipulate the area, damaging the structures of the spine;

Congenital spondylolisthesis: caused by a malformation in the region, which makes the joints more unstable and contributes to inadequate movement of the vertebrae.

Pathological spondylolisthesis: what is caused by some other disease, for example, tumors that weaken the structures of the region;

Despite the extensive classification of spondylolisthesis, according to Dr. Alexander Elias, a spinal neurosurgeon with a master’s degree from the Federal University of São Paulo (Unifesp), notes that two types of degenerative diseases are most common, more common in women over 50 (believed to be due to hormonal factors and osteoporosis), and isthmic, often found in adolescents and young people, especially in those involved in physical activities that require hyperextension of the spine.

Recognizing the symptoms of spondylolisthesis

Spondylolisthesis causes low back pain because when we move the body, we have a direct effect on unstable segments and their nerve connections.

Radiating pain, that is, pain that radiates to the lower extremities, is caused by nerve compression, which can cause displacement of the vertebrae.

How does a doctor diagnose spondylolisthesis?

Since the symptoms of spondylolisthesis are very similar to those of other spinal disorders such as herniated disc and parrot’s beak (osteophytosis), in addition to examining the patient’s history of complaints, the spinal physician should support their investigation with imaging studies. .

In principle, the tests most commonly used to detect spondylolisthesis are x-rays, which detect possible displacement of the vertebrae, and dynamic x-rays, which can show the presence of movement between the vertebrae.

However, in some cases, tomography and magnetic resonance imaging may be requested for the same purpose, helping to visualize possible non-osseous structures affected by the problem.

Treatment of spondylolisthesis: when is surgery possible?

In the vast majority of cases, spondylolisthesis can be treated medically and with the support of a minimally invasive video endoscopy procedure to decompress the nerve root affected by vertebral slip. “, – says neurosurgeon Alexander Elias.

“Minimally invasive procedures are an interesting solution for the treatment of spondylolisthesis because they do not cause significant bleeding and therefore avoid changes in blood pressure and other problems associated with traditional operations,” says neurosurgeon Alexander Elias.

In some cases, it will be necessary to perform a more invasive operation, fixing screws to stabilize the vertebrae.

Finally, it is always good to remember that spondylolisthesis surgeries are present in SUS with a lack of queues for surgery and are on the ANS list for coverage by health insurance plans and insurance carriers.

Source: Ndmais


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