Which age groups have the highest prevalence of lumbar spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis?

Updated: Jul 08, 2020
  • Author: Beth B Froese, MD; Chief Editor: Stephen Kishner, MD, MHA  more...
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  • Acute isthmic spondylolysis often occurs during the first and second decades of life. Most cases occur before the patient reaches age 15 years. In rare cases, acute spondylolysis may be seen in early adulthood. Younger patients are at higher risk than older patients for developing progressive spondylolisthesis. The risk for progression in adults is rare when the lesion is at L5. In contrast, lesions at L4-5 may progress into adulthood because of increased sagittal rotation, shear translation, and axial rotation at this segment.

  • Congenital/dysplastic spondylolisthesis has been documented in children as young as 3.5 months. More commonly, congenital spondylolistheses go undiagnosed until later in life after an individual has been ambulating for quite some time.

  • Degenerative spondylolisthesis occurs most commonly after age 40 years.

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