Study Design. Radiographic analysis of a pediatric population with spondylolisthesis was performed to examine sagittal plane pelvic rotation and degree of slip over time. Objectives. To determine whether the degree of standing sagittal offset of L5 with respect to the acetabulum correlated with slip progression and symptoms. Summary of Background Data. The natural history of isthmic spondylolisthesis remains unclear. Attempts to predict slip progression in the clinical setting, and thus the possible need for eventual surgical intervention, remain imprecise. Predicting slip progression based on sagittal alignment of the L5 vertebra with respect to the acetabulum has been proposed by some investigators. Methods. Fifty-two children and adolescents were followed clinically and radiographically for an average of 5.6 years. Serial lateral standing radiographs that included the hips and lumbar spine were measured to compute a sagittal pelvic tilt index. The latter value is a ratio of relative distances from the center of S2 to the projection of L5 and the center of the femoral heads on the horizontal. Results. Of the 52 patients studied, 38 have remained asymptomatic without significant slip progression or change in sagittal pelvic tilt index ratio. Of the original group, 13 patients had significant symptoms and revealed a decrease in the sagittal pelvic tilt index over time. Eight of the 13 stabilized at the end of adolescence, whereas 5 had continued decrease in the sagittal pelvic tilt index ratio. These five required operative treatment for pain and progressive slip. Conclusions. The sagittal pelvic tilt index gives the examiner an objective measure of the stability of the lumbosacral junction by quantifying the relationship between S2, the center of the hip, and L5. A decreasing sagittal pelvic tilt index ratio in this preliminary series correlated with slip progression and risk of conservative treatment failure, whereas those patients with a stable sagittal pelvic tilt index did not progress and remained clinically asymptomatic.
- Sagittal alignment