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  • Spondylolysis/Spondylolisthesis

    I have a query about spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis. I occasionally
    have an opportunity to do some work in paleopathology and have recently come
    across five cases of L5 spondylolysis with complete bilateral detachment of
    the neural arch at the pars interarticularis. All cases are from females aged
    between 30-45 yrs from a sample of 52 adult skeletons. There is no indication
    of accompanying olisthesis. Each of the skeletons came from the same occupa-
    tion level (50-75 yrs) at a single archaeological site located on Guam in the
    Western Pacific.

    My impression is that this figure of five cases is unusual. I have scanned
    the paleopathological literature, and although spondylolysis occurs regularly,
    such a high frequency is rarerly observed. And I have found only one bona fide
    case of associated olisthesis.

    I am much less familar with the clinical literature and was wondering if any
    of the Biomech-L readers could direct me to some good review material on this
    subject. What factors (age, sex, race, activity levels, etc.) predispose to
    neural arch separation in the lumbar region? Does the condition tend to run
    in families? Any information would be greatly appreciated.

    Doug Hanson
    Bioengineering Department
    Forsyth Dental Center
    140 Fenway
    Boston, MA 02115