What is spondylolisthesis?

Spondylolisthesis describes the anterior displacement of a vertebra or the vertebral column in relation to the vertebrae below. It was first described in 1782 by Belgian obstetrician, Dr. Herbinaux. He reported a bony prominence anterior to the sacrum that obstructed the vagina of a small number of patients. The term “spondylolisthesis” was coined in 1854, from the Greek “spondyl” for vertebrae and “olisthesis” for slip. The variant “listhesis” is sometimes applied in conjunction with scoliosis. These “slips” occur most commonly in the lumbar spine.

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