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Anybody with spondylolysis - fracture?

candle99ccandle99 Posts: 279
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:31 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical

I wondered if anyone else has had on their MRI report the word "spondylolysis". When I look that up on the net, it goes into the pars fracture, where the vertebra is broken at the points where the facet bones are attached. I asked my neurologist when he was reviewing my MRI films, did he see the fracture and he didn't. He pointed out two levels where my nerve roots were compressed by bone and the bone spur and a herniated disc (which wasn't stated on my MRI report)...it was worded like a disc bulge, but on the picture, you can clearly see the leaking disc. I am still waiting on the surgeon consult and will ask him about this. But for your MRI report to say that you have it, but not really more about it...seems strange. The chiro I was seeing said it just meant arthritis, now I want to go back to him and show him the difference between spondylosis and spondylolysis. Sometimes I'm amazed at doctors and such!

If you have or had the fractures noted on your MRI report, what did they end up doing about it? Some of the internet things are scarey...cementing? a halo?

My neck pops really bad when I lean over to the left, but it almost feels good until I raise my head back up, then it hurts more. My muscles are all screaming. If I stretch or rotate my neck some, the pain gets worse thru the day...plus working at a desk on the computer (I know posting here isn't helping), but I love everybody here and want to help where I can and learn and all. I've been waiting two months for the referral, but have had the nerve study in between and now everything is pointing to a must have surgery decision. The neurologist scared me to death about permanent damage. I'm so tired of hurting and being an "sick" person. I know we all choose our attitudes, but I choose to be whiney for now. :)



  • Lisa,
    Do you mean spondylolisthesis or spondylolysis or both?


    I have both. I've got DDD and osteoarthritis. (lower c-spine) I don't allow chiro to adjust my cervical spine. Your chiro probably means your spondylolysis is due to arthritis. I've got a slippage at three levels. I'm a bit unstable but not horrible. I get a lateral flex and extension images taken each year to make sure its not increasing. I'm in a good deal of pain most of the time. I happen to have a large sized spinal canal which is perhaps my saving grace. Otherwise this slippage could cause the spinal canal stenosis or narrowing. I've got enough on my plate as it is.

    How are you feeling?

  • Thanks for the response. My neck MRI report that I had this March has the word "spondylolysis" on it.

    I know I had slippage in my lumbar spine and had extra screws put in during the revision surgery in December and that was the spondylolisthesis. The net said that spondylosis was arthritis that can cause the slippage, but the spondylolysis said "fracture" or break in the bones or the pars defect.

    So you have fractures in your low back? How did it happen? I can't see where arthritis or DDD can cause a break in the bones? I have those too, but just can't figure out the fracture part? Could the radiologist have wrote down the wrong word? Surely to heck they know the difference between all three words!!!

    I finally got the referral and appt. to see a new neurosurgeon on June 8th about my neck so I will ask him and post back what he says about my report and the MRI views.

    Thanks for the link you sent...seems like it's referring mostly to the low back. Everything I can find on the net for the neck and spondylolysis just says fracture, so it's bothering me. I do have this knife pain on the right side of my neck that gets worse throughout the day, then my shoulder blades burn and pinprick and spasm. I'm just a mess!
  • Hi Lisa~

    Here's a thread I started last year! My spondylolisthesis (slipped vertebra) are in the neck not the lower back. These words are confusing. The spondylolysis is related like you said to a bony defect that occurs as a result of breakdown in a certain area of bone in the spine from arthritic changes or DDD. Technically this defect is a fracture. The spondylolisthesis most typically occurs in the lumbar area. Its less common to have the slippage in the cervical spine so there is less information available. The spondylolisthesis is a result of spondylolysis. First the breakdown then the slippage. Of course it can occur all at once when there is trauma. Also you could have spondylolysis without spondylolisthesis. Sounds bad to have such a thing going on in the neck. For me it is bad in terms of pain.

    The radiologist may not indicate you have a spondylolisthesis as a result of your spondylolysis on the cervical MRI. So besides the MRI you need to get plain lateral and flexion and extention views. This way they'll know where all your parts are in a neutral way from the lateral image. Then from the flex/ext images (taken in the lateral or sideways) they'll see if there is any dynamic movement that could show you are unstable to the degree you need to do something about it. If you've already had these images I'd make sure I brought them along to the appointment with the neurosurgeon. I've been to the neurosurgeon and they don't get too excited about my MRI images showing spondylolysis until they see these plain views showing spondylolisthesis with movement of the vertebra.

  • You explain everything so well. Thank you so much for the links and the information. I've been freaked about this neck thing so soon after having lumbar fusion and then a revision to add hardware for L3 L4 and L5. I really really appreciate your patience and sharing! I couldn't understand how a fracture came from arthritis and wasn't a really scarey thing. I haven't had flexing xrays yet, but will ask for them. Those would have saved me the revision surgery cause I had slippage in my lumbar. Seems the neurosurgeon that did that wasn't as thorough as he should have been. I'm seeing a different neurosurgeon next Monday and armed with your info will ask lots of questions. I DO NOT want any more surgeries if I can help it.

    That's what I love about this board is that there is always someone that has already been through what you have and can help you feel more at ease with info than you would without. Doctors just don't give you everything on explanation in my experiences.

    I'm getting to have an IV iron infusion Thursday to get ready for surgery. Turns out since my revision, my hemogloblin has dropped and my ferritin level is a 3...hard to believe that all the bloodwork in the hospital, they don't check your iron stores. Hope it makes me feel better!

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