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Spondylolisthesis - Diagnosis

Back pain and radiating leg pain are common symptoms.
  • Tight hamstring muscles
  • There may be an altered body posture
  • There may also be a scoliosis present as sometimes the bone, as well as slipping forward, can slip sideways (lateral listhesis).

X-rays will often be done and are best performed in the standing position. This is to assess the upright alignment and help ‘grade’ the degree of slippage, and to determine what type of spondylolisthesis is present.

In young people radiation exposure with x-rays should be avoided when possible. The current investigation of choice is an MRI scan. This is usually done with the patient lying down, so sometimes the slippage is less obvious.

A CT scan is sometimes requested by a specialist.
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