Current evidence regarding the surgical and nonsurgical treatment of pediatric lumbar spondylolysis: A report from the Scoliosis Research Society Evidence-Based Medicine Committee

Charles H. Crawford, Charles G.T. Ledonio, Robert Shay Bess, Jacob M. Buchowski, Douglas C. Burton, Serena S. Hu, Baron S.H. Lonner, David W. Polly, Justin S. Smith, James O. Sanders

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Study Design: Structured literature review. Objectives: The Scoliosis Research Society requested an assessment of the current state of peer-reviewed evidence regarding pediatric spondylolysis with the goal of identifying both what is really known and what research remains essential to further understanding. Summary of Background Data: Spondylolysis is common among children and adolescents and no formal synthesis of the published literature regarding treatment has been previously performed. Methods: A comprehensive literature search was performed. The researchers reviewed abstracts and analyzed by committee data from included studies. From 947 initial citations with abstract, 383 articles underwent full text review. The best available evidence for clinical questions regarding surgical and nonsurgical treatment was provided by 58 included studies. None of the studies were graded as level I or level II evidence. Two of the studies were graded as level III evidence. Fifty-six of the studies were graded as level IV evidence. No level V (expert opinion) studies were included in the final list. Results: Although natural history studies suggest a benign, relatively asymptomatic course for spondylolysis in most patients, both nonsurgical and surgical treatment series suggest that a substantial number of patients present with pain and activity limitations attributed to spondylolysis. Pain resolution and return to activity are common with both nonsurgical and surgical treatment (80% to 85%, respectively). Although it is implied that most surgically treated patients have failed nonsurgical treatment, the specific treatment modalities and duration required before failure is declared are not well defined. There is insufficient evidence to know which patients will benefit from specific treatment modalities (both nonsurgical and surgical). Conclusions: Because of the preponderance of uncontrolled case series and the lack of comparative studies, only low-quality evidence is available to guide the treatment of pediatric spondylolysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-44
Number of pages15
JournalSpine deformity
Volume3
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

Keywords

  • Evidence-based medicine
  • Isthmic spondylolisthesis
  • Lumbar spondylolysis
  • Structured literature review
  • Treatment

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