UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Orthopedics

Title: Spondyl.... Definitions

Keywords: spondyloysis, spondylosis, spondylolistesis, spondylitis (PubMed Search)

Posted: 12/4/2010 by Michael Bond, MD (Updated: 6/15/2024)
Click here to contact Michael Bond, MD

Dr. Corwell covered Spondyloysis in July 2010 but if you are like me you might have trouble remembering the differences between the following terms:

  • Spondyloysis: A unilateral or bilateral defect in the pars interarticularis portion of a vertebrae.  Typically L5 or L4.
  • Spondylosis: is a term referring to degenerative osteoarthritis of the joints between the spinal vertebrae and/or neural foraminae.
  • Spondylolisthesis: describes the anterior displacement of a vertebra or the vertebral column in relation to the vertebrae below. Usually due to spondyloysis or a fracture of the pedicles of the vertebrae.  Can occur anywhere along the vertebral column. Most common at the L4 and L5 level.  For example,  a hangman's fracture is a spondylolisthesis of the C1 vertebra being displaced anteriorly relative to the C2 vertebra.
  • Spondylitis: is an inflammation of the vertebra. As can be seen with ankylosing spondylitis, Pott’s disease or any infection or arthritic disorder of the spine.