If 6 – 8 weeks of conservative treatment has passed and there is little to no relief of the patient’s symptoms, spondylolisthesis surgery may be considered. It is only advised that a spondylolisthesis operation be performed before trying conservative treatments if the patient is experiencing neurologic deficits, impaired bowel or bladder function, or muscle weakness that is continuing to worsen.
In addition, if one or more of the following applies, then a spondylolisthesis operation should be considered.
A spondylolisthesis operation can either be performed as open surgery or minimally invasive surgery. The incision needed for a minimally invasive spondylolisthesis surgery is much smaller. Along with a smaller incision the surgeon on needs to gently manipulate the surrounding muscles and tissues instead of the cutting and tearing found in traditional open back surgery. These two differences clearing show why minimally invasive surgery techniques offer the advantage of providing a much quicker recovery.
An endoscopic foraminotomy is performed with intravenous sedation and under a local anesthetic with the patient being conscious through the whole procedure. During the procedure a small metal tube, the size of a pencil is inserted into the spinal nerve hole also known as the neuroforamen. Surgical tools are then inserted into the tube with no need to cut or tear surrounding muscle and tissue.
An XLIF procedure is a gentle, less invasive form of traditional spinal fusion surgery for patients that need the procedure to correct their condition. The XLIF procedure allows the surgeon to gain access to the spine from the side instead of the anterior (front) or posterior (back). By avoiding gaining access through the abdomen or cutting through muscle and tissue to reach the spine from the back, XLIF allows for a less painful surgery with fewer traumas to the body than traditional open fusion surgery. Spondylolisthesis surgery that is performed with an XLIF procedure allows a patient to recover in weeks rather than the months that a traditional spinal fusion surgery would take.