Spondylolysis is literally translated as a "lysis of the spine". In young patients, this is also known as a "pars defect" and is essentially a stress fracture of a portion of the vertebra usually in the low lumbar spine. It is common in gymnasts because of the high stress they place on their backs. This can cause significant back pain which worsens with activities. Initial treatment consists of bracing and occasionally use of a bone stimulator. If this is unsuccessful, a minimally invasive surgical fusion can be done to restore their spinal stability and significantly reduce pain.
Spondylolisthesis is literally translated a "slippage of the spine" and refers to a slip of one vertebral body in relation an an adjacent vertebral body. In young patients, this is usually due to a pars defect and in more mature patients it is a result of spinal arthritis and degeneration. Spondylolisthesis cause back pain as well as nerve compression resulting in radiating arm or leg pain. Nonoperative treatment includes medications and therapy followed by spinal injections. Surgical treatment consists of minimally invasive spinal decompression and fusion when necessary.